PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Will Trump Stand up to Big Pharma on Drug Importation to Tackle High Drug Prices?

We The PeopleFor the record, while I supported Obama for president, I was highly critical of the Obama administration for its obscenely cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, one that has led to unprecedented increases in drug prices during his tenure. During his first presidential campaign, President Obama had vowed to stand up to drug companies, and he supported allowing Americans to import medication to find savings in other countries. He ended up making a deal with Big Pharma to help him pass Obamacare, dumping his support for Medicare drug prices negotiations and importation.

Candidate Donald Trump voiced his support for federal drug price negotiations to bring down drug prices under Medicare and allowing consumers access to lower drug prices from overseas. Those are two policies that the pharmaceutical industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars defeating over the past decade through large contributions to Democrats and Republican alike in Congress. Of course, Americans can order medications online from foreign countries and import them for personal use, but under the Obama administration it has become more difficult and remains technically illegal.

Mr. Trump states on his website: “Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America.” During the Republican Primary President-Elect Trump vowed to stand up to the drug companies, mocking the career politicians who take their money and do their bidding in Congress.

From the Right, Americans who hate the heavy hand of big government will laud a President Trump that tells the FDA not to interfere with their freedom to purchase a lower cost medication from Canada or another country. From the Left and in states that border Canada, such as Michigan, Americans would love to see a president who will stand up to the outrageous U.S. pricing policies of multinational pharmaceutical companies by taking actions to expand access lower cost imported medications.

With high drug prices viewed as the #1 healthcare cost concern in the county, ALL AMERICANS WANT TO SEE TRUMP STAND UP TO BIG PHARMA.

Now let’s see if he does.

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Stand Up for Your RxRights; Fight Big Pharma’s $300 Million Campaign to Keep Drug Prices High

To fight big pharmaLast month it was widely reported that big pharmaceutical companies were kicking in a fresh $300 million for myriad government, media, and “advocacy” efforts to keep drug prices high. The Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, also known as Big Pharma, has asked its members, such as Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer to kick in $100 million more this next year because they know we’re on offense and they’re on defense. Part of their efforts will almost certainly include continuing to chip away at your ability to buy lower cost medication from other countries.

But you can fight back by donating to RxRights. For almost six years, RxRights has advocated on behalf of American consumers who import medication for personal use, many who do so through online pharmacies. Through advocacy, education and rallying Americans, RxRights is a bright light in our movement to end the stranglehold that big pharma has on our government!

RxRights is dependent on real people, everyday Americans who care about their families and friends who can’t afford medications. I know, many of you are looking for prescription savings already and it’s hard to part with your money. For those of you who are seriously cash strapped and struggling to afford your meds, keep your money and make sure you have the treatments you need to stay healthy. But like other Americans, if you’ve benefited financially from lower drug prices in other countries and have some bucks to spare then GIVE! You’ll be protecting your own financial interests and doing the right thing for others who absolutely need the lower prices or won’t get the medications they need to live health lives.

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A Letter from 33 Members of Congress to Obama Commends Expressly Permitting-Legalizing Importation

We The PeopleEarlier this month 33 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking him to use executive authority to tackle the crisis of high drug prices in the U.S. The gist of the letter is that Congress is paralyzed (surprise surprise) to act. So, while we wait, and wait, and wait for Congress — the urgency of high drug prices calls for executive action.

One of the steps recommended is to expressly permit Americans to import lower cost medications for personal use. Well, Americans already do that and while its technically illegal, people aren’t prosecuted for doing so, and thus it’s generally permitted. But if it was expressly permitted it would remove the stigma of illegality, embolden many more consumers to import lower cost medication, deflate and defang the scare tactics of the pharmaceutical industry about importation and online pharmacies, and would instill more price competition into the U.S. market to bring down prices at local pharmacies.

A few questions. Don’t we need to pass a new law to “legalize” importation? Why do I choose to bold the phrase expressly permit? Would it be legal or expressly permitted? Maybe both? (more…)

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Electronic Frontier Foundation Calls Out Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, NABP, Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, and LegitScript for Internet Censorship

Americans Can't Afford It.

Americans Can’t Afford It.

Last week, an article was published by Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, under the appropriate title, “How Big Pharma’s Shadow Regulation Censors the Internet.” Basically, Jeremy explains that due to drug company money and political influence in the United States, there are activities going on both in plain view and behind the scenes that are meant to curtail and even end access by Americans to lower cost medications being sold on the Internet.

I’ve been writing about this – albeit in less Internet policy, theoretical terms –  for years and testified before and warned Congress in 2013 on this issue. About a month ago, I published an article on Circle ID, a source of news and opinion about Internet policy and governance, describing the actions of drug companies to dominate the Internet. My hope was to reach people just like Jeremy Malcolm at organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF is a non-governmental organization, founded in 1990 to defend civil liberties in the digital world. They champion “user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.” Read about its awesome work and history here(more…)

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New Advocacy Effort to Get Clinton and Trump to Talk About Lower Cost Rx Imports

We The PeopleIf you would like the presidential debate this Sunday to cover the topic of personal drug importation, then vote here. It’s already known that both Clinton and Trump support expressly legalizing personal drug importation – but it would be better to hear them talk about it before tens of millions of people!

The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation, PharmacyChecker.com, RxRights, Prescription Justice, and TodaysSeniorsNetwork came together in a joint effort to nudge the candidates to address the issue of importation during the debate. Our coalition is asking Americans to vote to include the following question in the debate: “What would you do to ensure access to affordable medications through importation?” We are also encouraging consumers to pipe up on social media and get their stories out there to Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, the debate’s moderators.

For more information on this advocacy effort, see the news release.

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Forty-four Million Americans Find It’s Difficult to Afford Medication, According to New Kaiser Poll

What Americans think about drug prices...

What Americans think about drug prices…

A new poll by Kaiser Family Foundation found that 44 million Americans find it difficult to afford medication. Also, 77% of Americans believe drug prices are unreasonable, up from 72% last year. On the other hand, most Americans did not have trouble affording their medications. Of the 55% of Americans who take medication, 73% say they can afford them, 26% say that its’ difficult. (I’m not sure why that doesn’t round to 100%).

Overwhelming majorities of Americans support policies, legislative reforms in most cases, to bring down prescription drug prices and have access lower cost medications from Canada. The most popular policy would be forcing pharmaceutical companies to be transparent about their pricing of medication. The next two most favored policies are allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and expanding personal importation of lower cost medication from Canada.

The Kaiser Poll was a nationally representative random survey of 1204 adults living in the U.S. Public and voter opinions on drug prices are just one part of the survey, albeit the main one: but the poll also covers voter opinions and data about health insurance generally, Obamacare, premiums, and deductibles.

The Kaiser Poll has very interesting political analyses relating to how a person will vote in the upcoming presidential election and the candidates’ positions on prescription drug costs and other healthcare issues. If interested, the positions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are summed up on the blog of Prescription Justice. Both Clinton and Trump support expanding access to lower cost imported medications through personal importation, but Clinton has a much more ambitious plan, which is very much congruous with public opinion among Democratic and Republican voters.

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