Every country on Earth has different rules about importing medicines for personal use. Some countries like the UK and Australia have rules that favour their citizens and other countries, like Canada and Serbia and Croatia, have rules that seem to be written for the sole benefit of increasing the profits of the big international pharmaceutical companies such as Gilead.
Canada’s rules are that a Canadian person with Hepatitis C can not get medicines sent to them in Canada by courier or mail but can go to another country and buy generic Harvoni and bring it back to Canada.
This extremely stupid set of rules means that a Canadian person with Hep C and the money can simply fly to somewhere like Australia or India and buy their generic Harvoni or generic Sovaldi and then fly home and be cured. Totally legal and totally unfair because it means that Canadians with money can get rid of their Hep C but poor Canadians will just have to get sick and die!
There was one loop hole in Canada’s rules that we managed to exploit for a short while, this loop hole allowed for Canadian doctor’s or pharmacists to import generics direct and then give them to their patients.
Of course most doctors were happy to do this and we started sending generic Hep C medicines to Canada using this route.
However once we had managed to get a few shipments through to people in Canada this way Health Canada’s autocratic officials heard about it (I guess they were told by Big Pharma’s ghouls) and started blocking shipments sent by that method. I assume that they are puppets of Big Pharma or just stupid, unfeeling, self important bureaucrats. Anyway Health Canada succeeded in shutting down that pathway to health for its citizens.
But people are not just going to lay down and die when they know that there is a cure available but being blocked by their government.
So below is an interesting story about getting generic Hepatitis C treatment into Canada and how one clever Canadian found another loop hole and got his meds.
Thanks so much for your help in getting me my generic Harvoni into Canada.
Since you have asked me to write about my experience for the benefit of other people with Hepatitis C in Canada I’ll try to sum up my “adventures with Harvoni in Canada”, below is my story.
When I was confirmed to be hepatitis C positive late last year I already knew a little
about the extraordinary price of Harvoni (CAD $ 93.000) and need to obtain government assistance to buy Harvoni here in Canada. I applied for a local drug
assistance program called Trillium and to my surprise was quickly
approved. It was however impossible to get the meds actually bought. The
pharmacies couldn’t process the prescription without "special government
Can you imagine my frustration, knowing that I had the disease and being approved for the program to get it and then being blocked by government red tape???
So I had to go generic or wait for the disease to destroy my liver.
I heard that Harvoni was produced on license in India for about
$ 1 ,500 but I’d have to go there and buy it manually as there is no courier
shipping of medicals allowed into Canada.
But I was too poor and too sick to travel so I started researching what possible options I had (apart from waiting to die). In that research I found Greg Jefferys, an amazing guy, who bought the generic Harvoni for me in India and then had it shipped to me using a loop hole in Canada’s shipping rules. According to Canada’s own rules doctors or pharmacists could import drugs so we shipped it to my doctor who didn’t mind getting involved.
However when it arrived in Canada the shipment got blocked by Health Canada.
Apparently, there was more to these rules that we didn’t know about.
The doctor had to apply for a “special access program” and argue for the
reason to import the stuff.
My doctor then did that out of the goodness of his heart, knowing that I had no other options.
Of course, it didn’t work, either the red tape was so thick or Health Canada so disinterested in the health of its citizens, they refused to allow my doctor access to life saving medicines and the parcel was sent back to India. In India the Indian Customs people refused to allow the parcel to be returned to its sender and this valuable parcel of life saving medicines was destroyed and thrown into a garbage bin.
I as mentioned earlier I am not a rich man and I purchased these medicines with borrowed money.
I was shattered because I had no way of raising that money again. What a waste of good money and a good medicine!
Now listen to this: Greg and his partner from India then volunteered
to finance my second attempt! They would pay for everything, the medicines, the freight and everything, at no cost to me at all.
This time I got smart. I found one of the companies that facilitate
Canadian cross border shoppers with P.O. boxes and addresses.
Here I will explain a bit more about the cross border P.O. Box business, the Canadian secret.
Canadians love to shop in USA. More choice and everything is cheaper than in Canada.
Of course Canadian Customs does their best to slow this business down and add cost. Then some smart people came up with concept of providing both a P.O. Box and an address. This meant that people from Canada could buy stuff online from the USA and have that shipped to a P.O. Box just across the border, then just drive down and pick it up and drive home.
Greg had already told me that it was easy to get generics sent to the USA and if I had an address there then it would be no problem.
So that’s what I decided to do to get my “undeliverable” Harvoni.
I registered with a company like this and had the generic Harvoni shipped there to the USA P.O. Box from India. Because the shipment is tracked I knew when to drive down to pick it up from the warehouse (5 min from the border crossing, 2 hrs from Toronto where I live) and took it across the border back home.
I drove to the pickup point right at the customs bridge on US side, got the stuff, paid $5 and went back home. Yup, Canadian Hep C’ers that’s the way to do it. I wish I knew this earlier instead wasting almost a year for begging on the phone and getting sicker and sicker.
Now I have started treatment and am on the way to recovery all because of the kindness of two men, a man in Australia and another man in India, both of whom I have never met and who have done more to help me that the heartless officials of Health Canada will ever do.
Happy recovery to all of us!
My sincere thanks