For Immediate Release                                                                     Contact:  Marc Duff

May 17, 2004                                                                                   262-782-0763



Study Shows Minnesota Site Directs Patients to Costlier Drugs


Minnesota consumers using a state-sponsored drug importation website may actually face higher costs for some Canadian prescription drugs, according to a study released by The Taxpayers Network. 


“What is surprising is that the state-sponsored website directing people to Canadian pharmacies actually make available prescription drugs that are more expensive than if they were bought in the U.S.,” said Marc Duff, Senior Research and Policy Director for the Taxpayers Network.


While websites in Minnesota and Wisconsin linking people to foreign pharmacies do include small sections informing consumers about less expensive generic drugs from the U.S., the website does not inform consumers at the point of purchase that significant savings could be realized by simply using generics rather than buying the foreign drugs.  The range of available savings is detailed in the table below:



Comparison of Prescription Brand-Name Drug Prices from RxConnect Canada vs. Generic Equivalents in the U.S.

Brand or Generic Drug from Canada


Generic Equiv. from Walgreens in U.S.



Prozac (30 10mg Tabs) Antidepressant


Fluoxetine (30 10mg Tabs)



Zantac (60 150mg Tabs)       Ulcer Treatment


Ranitidine (60 150mg Tabs)



Vasotec (60 10mg Tabs)       High Blood Pressure


Enalapril  (60 10mg Tabs)



Glucophage (100 500mg Caps) Diabetes


Metformin (100 500mg Caps)



Zestril (100 10mg Tabs)            High Blood Pressure


Lisinopril (100 10mg Tabs)



Atenolol (60 50mg Tbs)         High Blood Pressure


Atenolol (60 50mg Tbs)



Glyburide (100 5mg Tabs)   Diabetes


Glyburide (100 5mg Tabs)



Note: Canadian drug prices obtained from State of Minnesota's RxConnect Online and using comparable dosages.  Prices include $14.95 shipping from Canadian Pharmacy and $1.95 from Walgreens.




“I am disappointed to learn that in all the politicking surrounding this issue, government officials are promoting something that could actually cost consumers more instead of less,” said Joel Raffenbeul, a member of the Taxpayers Network Board of Directors from Bloomington, Minnesota.


Duff warned the study’s conclusions do not dispel the notion that there is a prescription drug cost problem in the U.S., but the study does suggest that pursuing prescription drugs from foreign sources is not the panacea that some politicians suggest.  Duff said his overriding concern from is that pursing the sound-bite answers by promoting the illegal importation of prescription drugs through websites may keep states from pursuing policies that allow affordable pharmaceuticals to be purchased at home in the U.S.


“Controlling drug costs calls for more comprehensive solutions than promoting the illegal purchase of pharmaceuticals from foreign pharmacies,” said Duff.  “My fear is that politicians are getting hooked on the simplistic narcotic of these web sites and ignoring other effective remedies to the overall crisis facing our health care system today.”





An online version of the study is available at