Border restrictions have stifled the access to medical aid for many Americans. This is primarily in connection with the US-Canada border that has never been closed in the history of their relations. The pandemic has left Americans with no choice but to look at medicines double the price at home itself.
A research confirms that many medicines in Canada and Mexico is much cheaper than the same available in America itself. Even the Mexico border remains closed, expect for only emergency movement and do not allow Americans to travel to meet such medical needs.
While the National Health Interview Survey based on a 2015–2017 data had found out that 1.5percent Americans depended on cross border supply of treatment; that amounts to almost 2.3 million people. The insulin for example is in great demand and much cheaper to get from Canada that in the US itself.
Americans have been visiting Canada since 1921 for insulin; an integral hormone without which a human being may not survive more than three days. Scientists learned how to produce insulin in Canada in labs at the University of Toronto. One of the first patients to try it was an American: Elizabeth Hughes, the teenage daughter of then-US Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes.
Strangely, the price of insulin and even dental treatment is much cheaper in Canada and Mexico. People would drive down over weekends to get their treatments done. At times, you could negotiate and get discount. Prices are 10 times more in America. According to a study conducted by the CNN, it is illegal to bring in prescription drugs into the US. But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed for small amounts to be brought it provided medicine doesn’t exceed a three month supply.
It has also been observed that online ordering has spiked. But this desperation comes with its own risks of temperature sensitive drugs going bad in transit or delay due to postal hitches in pandemic times.
Additionally, black market is ruling the roost. Insulin demands have spiked since the pandemic began. In the last week of July alone, an organizer in Mexico had facilitated $24,000 worth of insulin donations. With 28 million Americans without medical insurance, even with private companies being pushed to cap prices, there are still those who cannot afford the regular supply. There are those necessary good Samaritans who fill in empty vials for needing patients; however this is not legally allowed. But they say’ it’s a necessary evil and we do it free of cost, only charging for the drug itself.’ Desperate times need desperate measures but many of these measures remain out of bounds unless borders start opening up between the US, Canada and Mexico.