by Paul Jacob
A few years ago, stories of Americans going to Canada to buy cheaper drugs were all the rage. Here's a twist on that: Canadians going to Mexico to get cheaper drugs.
The Canadian government has been intercepting shipments and travelers at the border and confiscating the drugs.
The drug in question is Thalidomide.
You no doubt remember this drug for its horrific side-effects, in babies.
But it is still used -- by people who won't get pregnant -- to treat a rare form of cancer. It turns out that it's one of the better drugs on the market, extending the lives of sufferers from myeloma.
Trouble is, only one province pays for one version of the drug. Other versions are illegal. Canada's socialized health care system does not approve of cheaper versions of the drug hailing from Mexican factories. Those factories haven't gone out of their way to deal with side-effects.
So Canada confiscates Thalidomide as if it were cocaine.
Do you ever get frustrated hearing these tales? I do. I don't know about your frustration, but it seems to me that if someone's going to take the trouble to go out of the country to buy a drug to treat themselves, the full weight of responsibility for safety and side-effects -- as well as the choice -- should fall on his or her shoulders.
Not the government's.
Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Citizens in Charge Foundation. Their website can be visited at www.citizensincharge.org.