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Congress, Not Pharma Execs, Are Accountable to Voters on Drug Prices

Congress is on my mind this week. There’s a lot of talk on PharmacyCheckerBlog about Big Pharma doing this and Big Pharma doing that to keep drug prices high in America. Most often, I aim to expose them for outright lying or exaggerating about the risks of buying cheaper meds from foreign countries using online pharmacies. Criticism of the FDA follows a close second, and in large part due to Big Pharma’s outsized influence on the agency. But who could really enact change? Congress!

This week, we at Prescription Justice announced the new Congressional Report Card on Drug Prices. Our team graded all members of Congress on their action and inaction on drug prices. I’m intensely proud of these efforts. If Congress passed laws that led to lower drug prices in the United States, then Americans would not be forced to obtain medication in other countries – at least not to the extent that they have to now. The lifeline of safe international online pharmacies is important, but it should not be in such great demand.

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How Trump’s Canadian Drug Importation Executive Order Changes Things

Originally published on PharmacyChecker.com.

Three executive orders were signed by President Donald Trump last week. One of them is all about drug importation: measures already underway and new actions to help Americans buy more affordable prescription drugs from other countries. It has the potential to help many millions of Americans who are sick and tired of high drug prices or can’t even afford the medications prescribed to them. 

The executive order states that the “Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to expand safe access to lower-cost imported prescription drugs by…” 

Stopping right there, before listing the stated actions, you should know that it’s not accidental that the executive order uses the word “expand” when referring to safe access to lower-cost, imported prescription drugs. 

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Understand Executive Authority on Allowing Safe Personal Drug Importation

Originally Published as A Blueprint to Understand Executive Authority on Allowing Safe Personal Drug Importation on PrescriptionJustice.org.

Yesterday, President Trump announced four executive orders with the stated intent of substantially lowering drug prices. Briefly, the administration’s bluster on drug prices over the past three years has been far louder than any actions taken to actually do something about it. Better late than never.

The orders call for and include: 1) Lower prices on EpiPens and insulin, 2) Allowing personal drug importation, 3) Ending profit-taking by pharmacy benefit manager middlemen, and 4) “most favored nation” drug price negotiation in Medicare, meaning Medicare would get the lowest price on drugs of any country.

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