Click here to read the English version!
This article was originally published in English under the title “Minority Communities Needing Better Healthcare Means Highlighting Safe and Affordable Online Pharmacies” on the PharmacyChecker Blog on June 30th, 2017. It has since been translated by Pedro Diaz into Spanish.
En medio de un débil intento de Washington para “resolver” el problema de la seguridad social, los americanos seguimos encontrando obstáculos al tratar de dar prioridad a la salud de nuestras familias. Mientras tanto, los costos de los medicamentos siguen aumentando. Esto, en particular, pone en riesgo a las comunidades minoritarias.
La crisis que representa el aumento en el precio de los medicamentos va más allá de los grupos minoritarios, pero hay estudios que muestran que, comparados con el resto de la población, los hispanos son más propensos a no seguir sus recetas médicas debido al costo. Lo que es peor, ahora que los inmigrantes tienen miedo de salir de casa, es incluso menos probable que los indocumentados consigan los medicamentos que necesitan. Sin importar tu posición en cuanto al tema de inmigración, esta tendencia es inaceptable y debe combatirse educando a la gente sobre la existencia de precios más bajos fuera de los Estados Unidos; y sin embargo hay quienes siguen sin entenderlo…
Tagged with: Drug Prices, healthcare, minority communities, Online Pharmacy
Principles to guide the Internet community on ethical medication sales
A few months back, I wrote about a panel that I put together as part of my work with PharmacyChecker.com and Prescription Justice, a non-profit group dedicated to ending the crisis of high drug prices in America. The panel was one of hundreds of sessions at the RightsCon Conference in Brussels, an event that brings together Internet freedom, human rights and social justice activists. The panel discussed issues related to buying medication online, Internet freedom, importation and drug affordability – and the negative impact of the pharmaceutical industry on all of the above.
Essentially, drug companies have spent millions of dollars on funding “non-profit” groups, public relations efforts, lobbying Congress and international organizations, Interpol (I kid you not), etc., with the goal of making it hard, if not impossible, for people to buy safe and lower cost medication online from other countries, which include people in America, that can’t afford it locally. Their activities intentionally conflate the intentional sale of counterfeit and substandard drugs with safe international online pharmacies.
The panel was a great step forward in giving the consumer side of this issue a larger voice. The panelists discussed and edited a draft set of principles on medication sales and the Internet. It took a while, but, on June 15, 2017, Knowledge Ecology International and Prescription Justice finalized and endorsed what we’re calling the Brussels Principles, which are published below. (more…)
Tagged with: accessnow, brussels principles, KEI, Rightscon
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.
Tagged with: CIPA, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Knowledge Ecology International, Public Citizen, Rightscon
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…)
Tagged with: Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, Electronic Frontier Foundation, jeremy malcolm, LegitScript, NABP, shadow regulation, voluntary agreements
To affordable medication!
It’s a well-known fact that the pharmaceutical industry has the greatest lobbying prowess of any industry in America. That power enables them to drive law and policy here at home – including the creation and maintenance of laws that make it technically illegal to import lower cost medications from Canada and other countries. Such is the nature of political power in the United States. But things are different in the virtual world.
Big pharma is trying to have that same sway over the Internet in order to stop people from buying lower cost medications online – and they are having successes. But the Internet community and the access to medicines activists can team up to defeat them. In an article I published on Circle ID this week, I identify for the Internet community what it means to protect online access to safe and affordable medication.
Essentially, I propose that rules applied to medicine sales on the Internet should reflect the highest aspirations of human rights law, which hold that access to affordable medications are a human right. Under this perspective, companies, such as registries, registrars, online payment processors, and others, that control “access” to the Internet, should do everything they can to make sure Internet users have the widest possible online access to purchase medication they can afford. Who wouldn’t want that?
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!