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Eli Lilly’s and Alex Azar’s Position on Importation is a Canard

Alex AzarThis week, President Trump potentially handed Big Pharma one of its greatest victories by appointing Alex Azar the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Why? Until earlier this year, Alex Azar was the president of Eli Lilly USA and few people (companies are people?) on earth personify Big Pharma like Eli Lilly.

This matters to Americans who import lower cost medication to fill prescriptions because the FDA is an agency housed in HHS, and HHS has a lot of statutory power when it comes to importation of prescription drugs.

President Trump campaigned on making it legal for Americans to buy lower-cost medications from other countries, but Eli Lilly and Alex Azar are leading opponents of safe importation. In fact, Eli Lilly is perhaps the leader when it comes to hatching, or funding, strategic communications and lobbying campaigns to stop Americans from using safe, international online pharmacies. Its efforts through the non-profit group, Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies—FUNDED BY ELI LILLY—have been frighteningly successful at fooling our elected officials and the public that international online pharmacies are inherently bad for Americans. They do so by conflating counterfeit drugs and even fentanyl abuse with safe international online pharmacies. As I see it, Eli Lilly’s narrative on online pharmacy and importation incorporates the most sinister aspects of fake news. Really. (more…)

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Saluting Veterans and Shaming Big Pharma Drug Dealers

November 11th is a day spent honoring brave Americans that made the ultimate sacrifice—serving our country in the United States Armed Forces. The bravery of these men and women is truly unparalleled, and it is for this very reason that a long history of Big Pharma taking advantage of the quite literal pain of war is nothing short of shameful.

Before 9/11, drug corporations led by Purdue Pharma had developed new pain medications — the opioids that have filled our headlines with news of rampant addiction and death.  These drug companies spent big bucks targeting the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), convincing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that restricting the use of opioids was nonsense. By 2008, the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvement Act, which instated pain evaluations for all vets, was drafted. To push the bill, drug company lobbyists launched a “Freedom from Pain” media blitz, enlisting veterans’ organizations to campaign for the bill and get it passed.

That’s not all.

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The American Sustainable Business Council: Doing Business While Doing Good

American Sustainable Business Council - PharmacyChecker.comA couple of weeks ago I attended the annual conference of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), a business organization that PharmacyChecker joined this past year. Basically, ASBC members believe that business is not just about making money and profits, but helping make the world a better place. I know it sounds sappy, but they mean it and I respect it. ASBC seeks to engage in public policy to ensure that all workers earn a livable wage; kids get a proper education; businesses are prevented from polluting the environment and exacerbating climate change; and that Americans have access to an affordable and viable healthcare system – and that means affordable drug prices.

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FDA Relinquishes Control to Foreign Drug Regulators

FDA Commissioner, Scott GottliebThis week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that inspections by drug regulatory authorities of foreign manufacturing plants that export pharmaceuticals to the U.S. are sufficient to ensure the integrity of those products: meaning the FDA doesn’t also need to inspect them. The countries identified are Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. All are currently members of the European Union (the UK is soon Brexiting).

Although this has made headlines as an unprecedented practice, the FDA relying on inspections from foreign regulators is not an entirely new development. The FDA does not inspect all foreign plants that export medicine to the U.S. even though most pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are foreign-made.

So what’s with the big announcement then?

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Medicare Part D doesn’t have to be Medi-scary: Ratings & Reviews

Happy Halloween from PharmacyChecker BlogSeemingly holding more tricks than treats, the notion of enrolling or even changing your Medicare Part D plan for 2018 can be just a little daunting. The ratings and reviews on MedicareDrugPlans.com help take the guesswork out of choosing a Medicare Part D plan. The free forums both empower and help you evaluate which plan will be right for you. These are real reviews submitted by real people. You can also rate and review your own Medicare prescription drug plans to help others learn from your experience.

The forums have invaluable comments, complaints, and suggestions about Medicare plans, including advice concerning the haunting coverage gap (the “donut hole”) and the path to low-cost medications from reputable online pharmacies.

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