PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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The Drug Reimportation Law Curtails Wholesale Not Personal Importation: Who Knew?

On behalf of Prescription Justice, I submitted comments to the FDA in response to its request for public comments on its draft guidance called: “Importation of Certain FDA-Approved Human Prescription Drugs, Including Biological Products, under Section 801(d)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: Draft Guidance for Industry.”

I published the comments in their entirety on Prescription Justice here: https://prescriptionjustice.org/resources/blog/opportunities-safe-personal-drug-importation-under-section-801-public-comments-prescription-justice.

I have a different story to tell here about the new, or newish reimportation law.

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When FDA-Approved Generics Fail: Brand Wellbutrin XL Antidepressant is Cheaper from Canada

When you lose count of how many folks have the same suspicion about a prescription medication, action is compulsory. Joe and Teresa Graedon, founders of The People’s Pharmacy, not only have an admirable track record of telling health consumers how it is, but also listening to those in their readership. Years ago, they took on the Food and Drug Administration in regards to Budeprion XL distributed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the supposed generic equivalent to the popular antidepressant, Wellbutrin XL. Many readers complained that it just wasn’t cutting it compared to the brand name version. In fact, many people reported that when they were switched to the Teva generic Wellbutrin XL, their depression returned. 

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U.S. Pharmacy Chains Harm Patients With Medication Errors; NABP Appears Silent

When you go to your local CVS and Walgreens – and other big pharmacy chains – are you getting the highest standard of care? Or do they care more about the billions of dollars in profits they make each year and how to increase those profits? Have these pharmacies gone rogue? Millions of medication errors have caused illness and death in America – and this problem has recently come into greater focus as pharmacists increasingly blow the whistle on their employers.

Yet the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to medication errors at U.S. pharmacies. Instead, they choose to spend their time “educating” the public about the dangers of prescription drug importation, warning Americans that it’s not safe to buy lower-cost medicines from other countries over the Internet. They have even included PharmacyChecker.com and this very blog (!) on a list of over 12,000 “Not Recommended Sites” – websites that they have categorized as safety threats from importation that put people and their families at risk. We have sued them for defamation and antitrust violations. 

Here’s proof that the NABP are paying relatively little attention to medication errors compared to internet pharmacies. On the NABP’s website, under the category of Medication Errors, you’ll see seven posts and nothing since 2015. Under the category Internet Pharmacies, you’ll find 122 posts.

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Shkreli is sued for monopolizing Daraprim. But what ever happened to Azar’s single source drug import plan?

Martin Shkreli, who became famous overnight back in 2015 for raising the price of Daraprim 5000%, is back in the headlines. Tagged the “pharma bro” for the cavalier attitude he fronted about his greed, Martin is actually currently behind bars. No, not for raising a drug price – otherwise the jails would overflow with pharma execs – but for financial fraud related to his work as hedge fund manager.

That’s old news.

Now, years later, Shkreli, the company Vyera Pharmaceuticals (formerly Turing Pharmaceuticals) and his colleague, Kevin Mulleady, are being charged by the Federal Trade Commission and NY State Attorney General Letitia James. With what? Pasted from the AG’s press release:

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Amazon Pharmacy is going international. Will that lower drug prices?

Amazon Pharmacy recently registered trademarks in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom but has not announced its stated plans for these registrations. For those of you who did not know that there is an Amazon Pharmacy, now you do. Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 as part of its push into pharmaceutical sales. Pillpack specializes in the delivery of prescription drug orders in specially-tailored packages to meet the individual needs of patients. In its own words: “Our claim to fame is delivering medications pre-sorted into packets by time of day. And we’re very good at that.” As of the end of last year, Amazon began branding PillPack-related information with “Amazon Pharmacy.” Also noteworthy is that prior to its acquisition of PillPack, Amazon started to quietly obtain wholesale pharmacy licenses.

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Should Blink Health advertise Canadian drugs on Google?

The company Blink Health is advertising Canadian drugs on Google, even though it does not sell medication from Canadian pharmacies. Should the company do that? Is that false advertising?

Blink Health advertising under the key phrase “drug prices in Canada”

Launched in early 2016, Blink Health offers consumers the ability to purchase prescription medicines from its app or website and pick them up from local pharmacies in their neighborhoods. This distinguishes them other drug price comparison leaders that offer pharmacy discount cards and coupons for U.S. pharmacies – ours is called the PharmacyChecker Discount Card. Since Blink Health’s launch, several similar services have sprouted, most notably Capsule, which launched in my hometown.

As I understand it, the firm’s goal is to find and increase discounts as it develops greater buying power through greater volumes, also known as economies of scale. I like it and it’s my hope – and belief – that Blink Health is saving people money on their generics. So, hats off to you, Blink Health.

But it’s kind of aggravating that, as I see it, Blink Health is fooling consumers who are looking for lower cost prescription drugs from Canada who will likely not get what they’re looking for when they click that ad. Brand drugs cost way more at Blink Health than in Canada.

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