Earlier 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…)
Tagged with: bayh-dole, Congressional progressive caucus, march in rights, pay for delay
Talking to the New York Times!
Last week the New York Times published my Letter to the Editor in response to an article about Mylan’s despicable increase of the life-saving drug Epipen, which saves people from serious allergic reactions. In “An Outcry Over the Price of Epipen,” my Letter’s focus is really on Congress and the need for them to actually do something besides talk. I note that personal drug importation, which is already happening, should not just be tolerated as a technically illegal behavior for which patients are never prosecuted but encouraged using proper guidance so that people can afford the prescriptions they need.
The other Letters provide excellent contributions to the policy debate. Caroline Poplin, who is a doctor, lawyer and healthcare analyst (wow!), criticizes drug companies for their abuse of our patent laws and federal regulations that allow them to maximize profits over patients. She believes that where the market is producing “bad results” government ought to provide remedies.
Sarah fink writes that due to the price of Epipen, her serious allergic reaction forced the plane she was on to land! Here we learn that airlines started cutting back on keeping Epipens on places due to the price. This was my favorite Letter.
Again, check it out here.
Tagged with: EpiPen, letter, mylan, nytimes
Want Lower Cost Medication
One week ago, the CEO and founder of PharmacyChecker.com, Tod Cooperman, and RxRights leader Lee Graczyk, published an op-ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog, entitled: “The candidates agree: Legalize personal imports of prescription drugs.” In a nutshell, as the title makes clear, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both support making it expressly legal to import prescription medication for personal use. This issue is sometimes one of life and death as the media spotlight on Mylan’s drug price spike of Epipen last week makes clear. You might be thinking, “Well, no one gets busted for importing personal prescription orders now so what’s the big deal?” It’s a huge deal.
Currently, about four million Americans import medication for personal use due to cost. But there are more Americans who need to in order to get the medications prescribed to them. If it were technically legal, millions more Americans would buy lower cost medication from Canada and other countries. How many? (more…)
Tagged with: clinton, cooperman, graczyk, RxRights, the hill, trump
Last year I published a blog post to celebrate the 4th of July in the spirit of freedom from high drug prices and unjust laws that protect multinational pharmaceutical companies. Shortly after that post, the fight between consumers and entrenched special pharmaceutical industry interests took on new meaning with the volume cranking up to 11. One Chicago Tribune headline said it best: “How 2015 became the year of prescription drug price outrage.” That outrage has continued unabated in 2016 and moving into the November election is likely to crescendo.
While I talk a lot about them – safe international online pharmacies are not the long term answer to the problem of high drug prices – but they do empower Americans in their battle against Big Pharma and, much more importantly, make it possible for them to afford medication they need to exercise their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And on that note, I republish my post from last year below…
Online Pharmacies and Freedom: Happy 4th of July from PharmacyChecker!
Back in 1776, America’s Founding Fathers agreed that a government should not deprive its people of their natural freedoms. So when I think about the tyranny of high drug prices in America this July 4th – which causes millions of Americans to go without needed medication and face financial hardship – I’m also thinking about the Declaration of Independence and the freedoms it promises. And I write with humility that safe online pharmacies offering lower drug prices from other countries have a lot to do with helping Americans achieve “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Life: There are people living in the United States who, according to their testimonials, would lose their lives if not for safe international online pharmacies.
Liberty: The Internet is a tool of freedom for millions when it comes to access to affordable medication. The Internet helps educate people that medication prices are much lower in other countries and provides access to legally operating and safe pharmacies from which they can obtain affordable medication.
Pursuit of Happiness: In this case I am thinking about the happiness of saving money and the fact that Thomas Jefferson was talking, at least in part, about financial health and security when he penned this phrase. But saving money is not just about getting a “better deal” although there is nothing wrong with that. It’s about the grandparent who pursues happiness by saving a $1000 a year buying medication from a foreign pharmacy so that he or she can visit their grandchildren this July 4th.
For these reasons, at PharmacyChecker.com, we believe it is an honor to help Americans who are going online for lower cost medication by identifying the safest online pharmacy options at which people can buy medication they can afford. By doing so, we empower them to both protect themselves from rogue online pharmacies and their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Happy 4th of July!
Bring it on!
As noted on the top of this web page, this blog is about “Helping Americans Get the Truth About Prescription Savings”. From time to time, I’m afforded the honor of spreading the truth farther and wider than our blog, including this week in Morning Consult, an online journal covering the intersection of politics, policy and business. In “Americans Deserve the Truth about Lower Cost Prescriptions,” I articulate the simple reality that millions of Americans import lower cost and safe medication and that they have done so for 15 years when buying from the safest international online pharmacies, despite federal restrictions.
Against consumers is the multinational pharmaceutical industry, which, in protection of its profits, spends a good deal of time and money scaring Americans into not buying lower cost medication on the grounds that they are likely to get a fake or substandard drug. To them the Internet presents mostly dangers when it comes to buying affordable medication. They refer to safe international online pharmacies as “rogue” or “fake” – and that scares people.
Remember, we’re dealing with a crisis of high drug prices in America and there are safe international online pharmacies that provide immediate relief while we work out longer term solutions. The flip side of the Big Pharma narrative about “rogue online pharmacies” is plain to see as the truth for those who take the time to look. The role of the Internet in making it possible for a consumer to obtain an essential medication in another country that is not affordable locally should have us all talking about how to encourage online access to safe and affordable medication.
Tagged with: lower cost medication, morning consult, truth
“I represent safe and affordable imported medication. This bathwater is dangerous rogue pharmacy websites!”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a press release about Operation Pangea, an annual global initiative led by INTERPOL “to combat the unlawful sale and distribution of illegal and potentially counterfeit medical products on the internet.” This is the ninth annual operation, and each year I wonder if FDA will throw the baby out with the bathwater.
There are, according to FDA’s own sources, tens of thousands of drug-selling websites. Most of them are considered “rogue” by PharmacyChecker.com. Where the FDA and Operation Pangea successfully shut down sites (whether lawful or not) that intentionally sell counterfeit medications, or even online pharmacies that sell real medications but without the qualifications or pharmacy safety protocols to do so, we applaud their actions. Shutting down dangerous online pharmacies – throwing out the bathwater – is noble.
In February of last year we submitted a policy paper that I wrote to congressional committees with jurisdiction over laws and regulations that affect access to safe and affordable medications. Entitled “Online Pharmacies, Persona Drug Importation, and Public Health,” I argued that safe international online pharmacies are a boon to public health because they enable consumers to afford prescribed medications, and that overzealous enforcement of drug importation regulation could negatively affect access to those sites. Actions taken by FDA and through Operation Pangea would seem to cross the line from public health to Big Pharma profit protection where they curtail access to the safest international online pharmacies, which is throwing out the baby.
Tagged with: Interpol, pangea