The City of Portland, Maine, is up in arms because the Maine Attorney General recently shutdown that city’s personal drug importation program, Portlandmeds, as reported by the Press Herald. Portlandmeds has saved the city $3.2 million over the past eight years, and is a clear example of a municipal drug importation program that has worked extremely well.
Public response has been critical of the ban. A Press Herald survey asked “Should Maine allow residents to purchased prescription drugs from Canada?” The response: 715 out of 769 – 93% – voted yes.
Portland City Mayor Michael Brennan and other city officials expressed their grievances to 9 of 10 of Portland’s State lawmakers, asking them to back a bill allowing Maine residents to import medication from Canada as well as other countries. Mayor Brennan communicated that Maine’s governor, Paul LePage also supports the resumption of the drug importation program.
Opponents of personal drug importation are almost always funded by corporate interests seeking to protect their profits. The opposition in Maine is no exception. The Retail Association of Maine, which includes on its executive board employees of huge pharmacy chains Walgreens and Walmart, vehemently opposes Portlandmeds. As reported in the Press Herald, that association’s executive director’s communicated: “CanaRx is not licensed to do business in Maine…That makes it difficult to know exactly where the drugs are coming from, and possibly puts patients at risk.” CanaRx – the Canadian pharmacy dispensing medication for the Portlandmeds program, is duly licensed in Canada where the medication is just as safe as the medication sold in the United States. We don’t know of a single adverse health effect after eight years of the successful Portlandmeds program.
We know how much money personal drug importation can save Americans – safely – and wish the City of Portland luck in resuming its program.