Rx Depot ask appeals court to stay shutdown order

Tuesday, November 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A Tulsa-based company that helps its customers buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to block a lower court order shutting down its 85 storefronts.

Rx Depot filed its appeal with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The company stopped linking its customers with Canadian pharamacies after U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ruled Nov. 6 that the business was breaking federal law.

The ruling was a blow to the thousands of Americans who buy cheaper drugs from Canada through storefronts and the Internet and to states and cities who hoped to save on employee prescription costs through imports.

The Justice Department had asked Eagan to shut down Rx Depot, which also operates as Rx Canada, at the request of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA argued the drugs from Canada could be unsafe.

Eagan ruled that Rx Depot violated a federal law allowing only manufacturers to bring their drugs back into the country.

Rx Depot claims that Canadian drugs are safer than those in the United States and that the company doesn't import drugs. The medicines are mailed directly from pharmacies in Canada to customers houses, owner Carl Moore said.

Rx Depot attorney Fred Stoops said victory on appeal was unlikely. He said Congress needs to fix the law to help Americans who are overburdened with prescription drug costs.

Congress is considering adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare, the nation's health care plan for the elderly and disabled. But the bill maintains the ban on importation of cheaper drugs from Canada.