HHS Chief Tackles Drug-Imports Issue; Canadian Counterpart Has 'Medical Ethics' Concerns about Practice

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Byline: Marguerite Higgins, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt discussed prescription drug imports with Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh in their first meeting since Mr. Leavitt was appointed.

Mr. Dosanjh, who has called on Canada to halt prescription drug flow into the United States, said the two also talked about global health security initiatives, pandemic health issues and prescription drug safety.

"It was a very positive meeting, and Secretary Leavitt is looking forward to working with the Canadian government and his counterpart, the health minister," said HHS spokesman Bill Pierce.

It was the first meeting for the two officials in their current roles. Mr. Dosanjh said he met with Mr. Leavitt in 2000, when Mr. Dosanjh was the prime minister of British Columbia and Mr. Leavitt was the governor of Utah.

Mr. Dosanjh said he raised the issue of Canada prescription drug importation with Mr. Leavitt.

"There was no pressure from [Mr. Leavitt] on dealing with this issue," he said at a press conference yesterday after the meeting. …