U.S. v. RxDepot: The Battle Between Canadian Store-Front Companies, the FDA and Brand-Name Companies
Prescription drugs are taken by millions of Americans each year for everything from seasonal allergies to beating cancer. However, millions of Americans each year are without health insurance of some form of prescription drug coverage. When the costs of prescriptions are beyond those Americans' reach, where should they turn to for help? RxDepot, Inc. was a company founded by an entrepreneur, Carl Moore, who believed he had the answer to the problem. In 2002, he began opening stores in the United States where customers could bring in the prescription, have it sent to a Canadian pharmacy, and receive their prescriptions in the mail. This was an attractive idea to some, especially senior citizens, because of Canadian price controls on prescription drugs. Patients would not have to enter Canada to obtain the benefit of the lower prices, but instead could place their order in their own neighborhood. While prospective patients seemed happy, and Carl Moore stood to see his company succeed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped in and claimed that RxDepot's actions were illegal. The FDA claimed that RxDepot's business circumvented the FDA's guidelines for safety and the public was at risk. Brand-name drug manufacturers were also upset because generic drugs were entering the United States which may have violated their patent rights without complying with existing law regarding the introduction of generic equivalents. When it looked like a showdown would occur between the FDA, brand-name drug manufacturers, and RxDepot, the FDA was first to succeed in federal court in enjoining RxDepot's business on the public health policy. This left patients without access to affordable drugs and Carl Moore without a successful business. However, the FDA maintained it was helping to save lives by preventing harmful drugs from illegally entering the country. The author traces the short life of RxDepot in the United States, the concerns by many involving intellectual property rights, and seeks to find an answer for those who may have been forgotten in the fight - the patients.