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Pfizer Defends Position on Re-Imported Drugs

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer held its annual shareholders meeting Thursday in St. Louis. The company is defending its position against prescription drug imports.

Last January, Pfizer cut off its supply of products to Canadian pharmacies that fill mail-order prescriptions from U.S. consumers.

Critics contend that's hurting millions of seniors who can't afford the drugs domestically. But Pfizer senior vice-president Chuck Hardwick says re-importation would expose the U.S. to unsafe counterfeit drugs.

"This is not merchandise that's made in the U.S., shipped to Canada and brought back," Hardwick said. "If the floodgates were open, we don't know where that merchandise would come from. So, a patient, even a pharmacist can't necessarily tell the difference between a counterfeit product and the real thing."

Pfizer officials met with re-importation supporters, including the governor of Minnesota.