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Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Big Pharma Playbook on Internet Pharmacies Exposed

Big Pharma Blocks Online AccessCentral to Big Pharma’s lobbying efforts is relying on drug company-funded “nonprofit” groups to sanitize their goals under the veneer of charity. Investigative reporting in Tarbell, a media organization founded by healthcare activist Wendell Potter, shows that drug companies, namely Eli Lilly, successfully lobbied the Obama administration to make Internet companies embrace policies that curtail online access to affordable medication.

These pharma-funded nonprofits engage fellow industry-tied patient groups, the media and people, promoting the idea that rogue online pharmacies and safe international online pharmacies are the same thing. Their message: don’t buy lower-cost medications online from other countries because it’s too dangerous.

That message is an outright lie.

(more…)

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Drug Importation is Popular Despite What Big Pharma Says

Voters want importation to be legal.

Voters want importation to be legal.

Shocking. Contrary to the outcry against high drug prices in the United States and the findings of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a recent survey conducted by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP or “Buy Safe Rx”), the Pharma-funded nonprofit, found that a majority of consumers (59%) oppose legalizing drug importation “after being provided with information specifically pertaining to Canadian online pharmacies.” Information, huh? First, let’s talk about an objective survey on the issue.

In May of this year, the Kaiser Family Foundation issued a more comprehensive, larger survey that found the complete opposite result of ASOP: 72% of respondents support legalizing drug importation from Canada, with Democrats and Republicans agreeing on this issue.

Also, despite the federal prohibitions, nineteen million Americans say they have imported lower cost medication from other countries.

The ASOP “survey” respondents were provided fear-inducing “statistics” surrounding Canadian online pharmacies before asking the survey questions. One such “factoid” gives you a window into the scheming nature of the whole project: (more…)

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Online Pharmacies, Personal Drug Importation, and Public Health: Industry Dominance of “Stakeholders” Consulted by GAO

Continuing our quest to get the truth out and for our elected leaders in Congress to take bold action to protect online access to safe and affordable medication, we’re publishing a section a week of our report called Online Pharmacies, Personal Drug Importation, and Public Health. The Government Accountability Office Report on Internet pharmacies, which we’ve attested contains inaccuracies and is misleading about buying medication online, clearly relied heavily on pharmaceutical industry sources. Here’s how:

Some pharmaceutical companies, including many members of the PhRMA, view foreign online pharmacies as a commercial threat because Americans are able to obtain medications at lower prices leading to lower profits. The U.S. pharmacy industry views non-U.S. online pharmacies as unfair competition because the latter can charge lower prices. Many of the groups identified by GAO as stakeholders are drug companies and U.S. pharmacies or groups that they fund, including the following groups:

  1. Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies
  2. International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition
  3. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Pharmacies
  4. National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  5. National Community Pharmacists Association
  6. Partnership for Safe Medicines
  7. Pharmaceutical Security Institute
  8. PhRMA

Of the 35 stakeholder groups identified by GAO, at least 33% (13) are pharmaceutical companies or groups that receive funding by pharmaceutical companies or U.S. pharmacies. Another stakeholder is the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), as are eight of its member companies. CSIP is a private consortium of businesses formed in response to pressure by the White House Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, which mostly operates as another voice and information clearinghouse for the other stakeholders listed. Three associations representing U.S. pharmacy boards and pharmacies are listed above.

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Call for an Investigation of John Horton, President of LegitScript, for Possible Government Ethics Violations

Today we asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and any other appropriate government agencies to investigate possible violations of government ethics laws by John Horton, president and founder of LegitScript.com, while he was Associate Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and after leaving his government post.

Our request was sent to Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns and Ranking Member Darrell Issa.

Mr. Horton appears to have misused and abused his government position for private gain by starting, while in office, an online pharmacy verification service, LegitScript.com, and given unfair market advantage to his business.  More importantly, his actions appear to have violated the will of Congress, misled the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and instigated and/or encouraged government actions by ONDCP and other government agencies adverse to the interests of Americans, specifically hindering access by Americans to safe and affordable medication.

As further described in our letter, we believe that, to serve his private interests and those of prospective pharmaceutical and pharmacy clients, Mr. Horton appears to have subverted the activities of ONDCP by ignoring the congressional request found in Section 1107 of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 to develop strategies to stop the online advertising of controlled substances without a prescription. Instead, Mr. Horton developed strategic policies for blocking the online advertising of all prescription medication from licensed Canadian and other non-US pharmacies that do require a prescription. Such pharmacies have been a lifeline to affordable medication for millions of Americans.

Click here to read the full request and view supporting exhibits.

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Rogue Pharmacy Connections Found In LegitScript.com’s Network

The LegitScript network of “approved” online pharmacies includes connections to rogue pharmacies, although this is something that LegitScript prefers not to disclose. In 2008, Cardinal Health, which has a number of LegitScript-approved Internet Pharmacies within its retail network, paid a settlement of $34 million to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for allegedly shipping controlled substances to illegitimate online pharmacies. According to then DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart:

“Cardinal’s negligent conduct contributed to our nation’s serious pharmaceutical abuse problem. This substantial civil penalty underscores DEA’s determination to prevent pharmaceutical diversion and protect the public health and safety by continuing to hold companies responsible if they fail to fulfill their obligations under the Controlled Substance Act.”
(more…)

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Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (safeonlinerx.com) – Really an “Alliance Against Safe and Affordable Online Pharmacies?”

 

A new group called the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (www.safeonilnerx.com) is working to prevent access to safe and affordable online pharmacies (Also see our article about a deceptive news release published by this group). Its membership and “observers” include the usual pharmacy, pharma and pharma-front groups: American Pharmacists Association, Eli Lilly & Company, LegitScript.com, National Association of Chain Drugstores, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), National Health Council, and the Partnership for Safe Medicines.

The group’s stated mission is “to protect patient safety and ensure patient access to safe and legitimate online pharmacies in accordance with U.S. laws.”  The unstated premise is that since it is technically illegal for Americans to personally import medication from abroad, only U.S. pharmacies (i.e., those that are members of its own member organizations) are in accordance with U.S. laws. (more…)

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