A new U.S. FDA public education campaign called BeSafeRx (www.fda.gov/BeSafeRx) would be much more helpful if it were more truthful. In launching the campaign, designed to alert consumers to the potential dangers of online pharmacies, the FDA Commissioner said, “If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.” In actuality, low prices from online pharmacies outside the U.S. are often quite real and are offered from licensed pharmacies selling genuine products. The problem is that U.S. prices are just unbelievably high. The U.S. pharmaceutical and pharmacy industries (which don’t want to lose profits and consumers to lower priced pharmacies) in other countries, have come out as big supporters of BeSafeRx.
Correctly, the FDA alerts consumers that there are thousands of dangerous pharmacy sites that should be avoided, but safe international pharmacies do exist. Independent studies and over a decade of experience show the high degree of safety Americans can find in personally imported medication from online pharmacies which have been properly credentialed by PharmacyChecker.com. For many Americans they provide the only way to afford their medicine. International online pharmacies verified by PharmacyChecker.com require prescriptions and sell genuine medication at prices much lower than available domestically: often 90% lower.
The big losers of FDA’s online pharmacy campaign are American consumers and taxpayers. American consumers lose by having to pay much higher prices in U.S. pharmacies, or, tragically, by not taking their medication at all. In 2010, 48 million Americans did not fill a prescription due to high drug prices, according the Commonwealth Fund. This is a national health crisis, which is only getting worse. As taxpayers, we lose because when people end up getting sick by not taking needed medication they are more likely to end up in emergency rooms across the county incurring medical costs paid for by our dwindling national coffers (you and me).
Remember, our Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department (which oversees the FDA) – Kathleen Sebelius – operated her own drug importation program as Governor of Kansas. During her tenure, consumers could order prescription medication from pharmacies in the Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK found through the State of Kansas website. If it was safe then it is safe now. It appears that only the political calculation has changed in perverse deference to the big pharmaceutical companies.
Tod Cooperman, MD, President, and Gabriel Levitt, Vice President