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Readout of Acting Ambassador Kirsten Hillman’s meeting with Joe Grogan Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy

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November 1, 2019

Canada’s acting Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, issued the following statement today following her meeting with Joe Grogan, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, regarding the Administration’s proposed Safe Importation Action Plan.  On October 22, Ms. Hillman had a similar meeting with John Brooks, Senior Advisor for Drug Pricing Reform and other U.S. officials at Health and Human Services:

In a productive dialogue today with Mr. Grogan and White House officials, I made it clear that Canada is sympathetic to U.S. concerns regarding affordable prescription drugs and remains committed to working with the United States as health and safety regulatory partners.  I also underlined that it is important to recognise that Canada’s market for pharmaceuticals is too small to have any real impact on U.S. drug prices.  Canada represents only 2% of global pharmaceutical consumption vs America’s 44%.  In fact, the state of Florida alone spends more than all of Canada on prescription medicine.  Last year, 699 million prescriptions were filled in Canada compared to 4.2 billion in the United States.

Not only are we too small of a market, Canada cannot increase its domestic pharmaceutical drug supply to meet U.S. demand. Canada imports between 68-70% of our final dosage form prescription drug supply and for the remaining 30% that we do manufacture domestically – over 90% of the components come from abroad.

In fact, a September 2019 U.S. study predicts that even if a mere 40% of U.S. prescriptions were filled using Canadian sources, the Canadian drug supply would be exhausted in 118 days.  Canada remains dedicated to working with the U.S. to  improve our citizens’ health and well-being, recognizing that Canada’s priority is to  ensure a steady and solid supply of medications at affordable prices for Canadians.