PharmacyChecker Verification Program Protects Public Health
Americans and consumers worldwide come to PharmacyChecker.com to find pharmacies that will sell them properly dispensed, genuine medication, at a price they can afford.
We take our role very seriously and continually improve and enhance our program to keep up with changes in the marketplace.
For those who are interested, I’m happy to announce today that we have published our latest program documentation that effectively communicates our most current standards, policies and online pharmacy practice guidance on how to meet those standards. In reviewing our protocols, consumers, healthcare providers and advocates, and policy professionals can more fully understand why websites “approved” in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program are the safest international online pharmacies: as safe as U.S. pharmacies, according to peer-reviewed research and medication testing.
You can review our full set of PharmayChecker.com standards for verifying online pharmacies here. Below are some of the key attributes of our program and standards. (more…)
According to a Zogby Poll (see graphic) conducted in February of this year, 31.6% of Americans who said they have never ordered a medication online from another country cited fear of substandard drugs. Another 32.3% cited the law restricting the practice. Most often (44%) people said they preferred to get medication from local pharmacists, which I liked – but I’m aware that for that group affordability was less of an issue.
In 2001, in a Wall Street Journal article called “Survey Shows U.S. Customs Allows Illegal Foreign Medication,” then Congressman James Greenwood (R-PA) expressed his belief that Americans who import medications, even illegally, for their own use, should be able to. As president and chief executive of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), which represents leading biopharmaceutical companies (such as Abbvie, Amgen, Celgene, and Gilead), he has changed his tune.
Flashback to 2001…
Congressman Greenwood, who chaired the House Commerce oversight committee, stuck up for cash strapped older Americans. Congressman Greenwood said:
“While we would like to stop dangerous drugs from being brought in for abuse and stop people from getting drugs that are counterfeit or bogus, we don’t want to interfere … with an older person getting a better buy.”
He was referring to Americans importing small quantities of non-controlled, prescription drugs for their own use because they cost a lot less money than at U.S. pharmacies.
Properly Verified International Online Pharmacies Sell Genuine and Safe Medication
Last month, Roger Bate, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and head of the Safe Medicines Coalition, published the results of a study which tested and compared the quality of drugs purchased from online pharmacies in the U.S. and abroad, including pharmacies verified by third-parties and those not verified. The findings were clear: PharmacyChecker-approved international online pharmacies sell medications of comparable quality to U.S. online pharmacies verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and LegitScript.
In fact, overall, the results were better for PharmacyChecker-verified pharmacies than for those verified by NABP and LegitScript. Results were dramatically worse for pharmacies with no third-party verification. The drug testing focused on generic versions of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and of generic Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which were ordered from the online pharmacies by the researchers. (more…)
There’s Rx Savings for Americans in Canada and Elsewhere If Needed!
Last week, we issued our first PharmacyChecker.com quarterly International Drug Price Savings Report, which showed that American consumers can potentially save, on average, 70% on 20 top-prescribed brand name drugs when buying from a Canadian pharmacy approved in our Verification Program. The report shows international pharmacy savings by country or group of countries: U.S., Canada, Australia/New Zealand/UK, India, and Turkey. We intend to issue this savings report every three months.
We chose the 20 medications based on IMS Health data on the most popularly prescribed non-controlled medications in 2015, and the prices were collected during February and March 2017. Ten of the medications are available in the U.S. as a generic, in which case American consumers will often – but not always – find the lowest prices locally.
Something unexpected happened at a dog and pony show staged at the National Press Club on April 4, where the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) gave its campaign against prescription drug importation and international online pharmacies the imprimatur of technocratic expertise. Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew Von Eschenbach, in opposing importation as unsafe, and “frightening” said that 29 countries have regulatory systems for drug safety comparable to the U.S. Was that a mistake? No. We need to get that list of 29 countries and create standards for distribution and refine guidance for consumers to help more Americans import lower cost medications from those countries.
I derived the number 29 because Dr. Eschenbach said: “of the 96 countries around the world that can supply drugs only 30% have a functional regulatory infrastructure that’s comparable to the one that we have at the Food and Drug Administration.” Simple math showed 30% of 96 is 28.8. I rounded to 29!
Granted, Dr. Eschenbach would say that I was taking his words out of context. (more…)
In her new book, American Sickness, Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, an award-winning journalist, currently chief editor of Kaiser Health News, and formerly with the New York Times, recommends visiting PharmacyChecker.com to consumers who choose to import more affordable medications for themselves or their family members via online pharmacies.
In general, Ms. Rosenthal’s book explains why our healthcare system is such a mess in terms of consumer and government costs; who is responsible; how we can make things better – and most importantly – what consumers can do NOW to take on the special interests and save money. It’s a great book for citizens, healthcare advocates and policy makers who want a deeper understanding of what ails our healthcare system. (more…)
The head of LegitScript.com, John Horton, likes to falsely claim that PharmacyChecker “pretends” that international online pharmacies are “just Canadian” when they “really” sell drugs from other countries. The only one pretending, as usual, is Mr. Horton.
To be sure this is done properly, the online pharmacies verified by PharmacyChecker must disclose to us all partner pharmacies — as we must check and verify their credentials — and the online pharmacies are required to let consumers know, ahead of time, the country from which their medications will be dispensed. Furthermore, our listing of PharmacyChecker.com Verified Online Pharmacies includes the names of the countries from which each online pharmacy dispenses prescription medications.
Of course, there are many rogue pharmacies to watch out for that claim to be Canadian, or even American, but don’t require a prescription, and are not verified for any standards by any organization. We should all work together to protect consumers from such rogues, not fool Americans into believing that safe international online pharmacies don’t exist – which appears to be the approach favored by Mr. Horton, LegitScript, and Pharma-funded groups.
We assume that John Horton and his big pharma allies and shills will continue to attack us because of our continuing efforts to verify and identify the safest international online pharmacies, advocate for safe personal drug importation, reveal pharma’s scare tactics and expose their lies. We can deal with that. It’s just a shame that they do it at the expense of Americans who need affordable medication but may be scared away from the reliable pharmacies that are available.
Defending consumer rights to affordable medication on the Internet (left to right: Gabriel Levitt, Jeremy Malcom, Andrew Goldman, Burcu Kilic, Paul Zickler)
Access to medicines and Internet rights advocates came together yesterday for a panel at the RightsCon conference in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the importance of, and threats to, online access to safe and affordable medication. In my capacities as president of PharmacyChecker.com and founder of Prescription Justice, I submitted the concept for this panel to RightsCon, a conference that focuses on issues relating to human rights and the Internet, such as freedom of expression, curbing violent extremism, and privacy and data protection.
The panel included Jeremy Malcolm, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Andrew Goldman, Knowledge Ecology International; Burcu Kilic, Public Citizen; Paul Zickler, Canadian International Pharmacy Association, and Gabriel Levitt. We came together to push back against the pharmaceutical industry’s attempts to control what is and is not permissible on the Internet when it comes to medication sales and the importation of prescription drugs for personal use.
My presentation’s focus was on the tens of millions of Americans who are struggling to afford medication and how the Internet provides them with access to lower cost medication imported for personal use. I will follow-up with a more detailed report on the panel discussions and a workshop that followed, where we drafted a Statement of Principles for the online sale of medication, one inspired by the belief that access to affordable medications is an essential component to the fundamental human right to health.
This week, LegitScipt’s John Horton blogged with apparent glee about charges by the U.S Attorney’s Office for Western Pennsylvania implicating several Canadian individuals and their company, Quantum Solutions, for allegedly exporting wholesale quantities of medications manufactured for foreign markets to U.S. pharmacists between 2007 and 2011.
Horton makes the mistake of saying that the case involved charges against an internet pharmacy certified by PharmacyChecker, but this is not the case. No online pharmacy is charged in the case, let alone any online pharmacy verified by PharmacyChecker.
Horton also states that the case involved the shipment of “bad” medicine, but there is nothing in the court documents indicating a problem with the quality of any of medications. Their labeling was apparently for the countries where they were being sold, which makes them “misbranded” if sold in the U.S. but not “bad” medicine. The drugs involved were expensive brand name drugs like Abilify, Zyprexa, and Plavix, costing hundreds of dollars per month in the U.S. but normally 80-90% lower in price outside the U.S. — which is likely what motivated the U.S. pharmacists to allegedly purchase the medication from abroad.
John Horton’s blog shows that in the world of online pharmacies, one party you can’t trust for reliable information is John Horton.
A very strange thing about the government’s filing in this case is an attachment listing website domains, a few of which are for international online pharmacies verified in our program. There is no claim of wrongdoing by any of these sites. The filing explains that these website addresses are property which the U.S. government seeks to have forfeited by the defendants in the event of a conviction, as the addresses may have been purchased with proceeds of the alleged offense. Certainly there are other assets owned by the defendants that our government could seek, so why focus on these uninvolved websites? It would seem that if these websites were taken by the government, the public would lose access to several safe, low-cost pharmacies.
Not surprisingly, John Horton misrepresents at least one of these pharmacies as being “the subject of today’s criminal charges” (more lies). Horton goes further by posting this list of websites to his blog in what we see as an attempt to smear the reputations of these uninvolved sites and part of his ongoing tactics to scare Americans away from safe and affordable medication and keep us hostage to inflated drug prices at home.