Employers favor legalizing Rx purchases from Canada

June 6, 2005

Companies are, for the most part, in favor of the U.S. government allowing American citizens to purchase prescription drugs from Canada, judging from the results of the 2005 Arxcel Prescription Benefit Research Survey.

Companies are, for the most part, in favor of the U.S. government allowing American citizens to purchase prescription drugs from Canada, judging from the results of the 2005 Arxcel Prescription Benefit Research Survey.

Asked if they thought safety or quality concerns about Rx drugs from Canada were legitimate, more than half (52%) said they had no such concerns, 45% said safety and quality are legitimate concerns, and 3% were not sure. Only 2% of respondents said permitting the direct purchase of drugs from Canada to slow annual Rx drug cost increases is a viable solution; 52% found it somewhat viable; 26% said it was not a viable solution. Nine percent said they did not know or were not sure; 2% did not respond.

Regarding the escalation of Rx drug costs, companies placed almost equal blame on direct-to-consumer advertising and the expenses of developing new drugs. Three out of 10 respondents (30%) chose DTC advertising as the one cause that has played the largest role in escalating drug costs; 29% mentioned the expense of developing new drugs. In the 2004 survey, 40% of respondents chose DTC advertising and 25% cited the expense of developing new drugs. In this year's survey, 20% of respondents put the blame for higher drug costs on inflation; 5% mentioned changes in the use of pharmaceutical product; and 16% pointed to the aging population.

Respondents were asked to rate each of a list of potential solutions, on a scale of 1 to 4, as to their individual viability as a way to slow the rate of price increases. A rating of 1 means the solution would have high potential to make an impact, while a rating of 4 means the solution would have little or no impact.

Here are some solutions offered and how respondents rated them: