According to a recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive survey, four out of five (80 percent) U.S. adults indicate that they favor allowing people to import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries if they are much less expensive.

A vast majority (84 percent) of the public strongly or somewhat agrees that the law banning pharmaceutical imports is intended to protect drug companies’ profits, while only thirty-six percent say this law helps protect Americans from potentially harmful drugs.

While some pharmaceutical companies want to make it impossible for Canadian pharmacies to sell drugs over the Internet, a majority of adults (72 percent) state that this policy is very or somewhat unreasonable. Additionally, 83 percent agree that it should be legal to import drugs from Canada that are approved and vetted by Health Canada, Canada’s equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since last year, Customs has been confiscating packages mailed to U.S. consumers by Canadian pharmacies, with 37,154 packages seized as of July 2006. A majority (77 percent) agrees that confiscating drugs at the Canadian border jeopardizes the health of some Americans, and very few (6 percent) feel that those who regularly order pharmaceuticals from Canada should be fined or arrested.

Only one out of ten (11 percent) adults say they have bought prescription drugs from a pharmacy in Canada or another foreign country (either by going there, on the Internet, or by mail) in order to save money, but that percentage has doubled since 2002.