November 11th is a day spent honoring brave Americans that made the ultimate sacrifice—serving our country in the United States Armed Forces. The bravery of these men and women is truly unparalleled, and it is for this very reason that a long history of Big Pharma taking advantage of the quite literal pain of war is nothing short of shameful.
Before 9/11, drug corporations led by Purdue Pharma had developed new pain medications — the opioids that have filled our headlines with news of rampant addiction and death. These drug companies spent big bucks targeting the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), convincing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that restricting the use of opioids was nonsense. By 2008, the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvement Act, which instated pain evaluations for all vets, was drafted. To push the bill, drug company lobbyists launched a “Freedom from Pain” media blitz, enlisting veterans’ organizations to campaign for the bill and get it passed.
PharmacyChecker Verification Program Protects Public Health
Americans and consumers worldwide come to PharmacyChecker.com to find pharmacies that will sell them properly dispensed, genuine medication, at a price they can afford.
We take our role very seriously and continually improve and enhance our program to keep up with changes in the marketplace.
For those who are interested, I’m happy to announce today that we have published our latest program documentation that effectively communicates our most current standards, policies and online pharmacy practice guidance on how to meet those standards. In reviewing our protocols, consumers, healthcare providers and advocates, and policy professionals can more fully understand why websites “approved” in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program are the safest international online pharmacies: as safe as U.S. pharmacies, according to peer-reviewed research and medication testing.
You can review our full set of PharmayChecker.com standards for verifying online pharmacies here. Below are some of the key attributes of our program and standards. (more…)
According to a Zogby Poll (see graphic) conducted in February of this year, 31.6% of Americans who said they have never ordered a medication online from another country cited fear of substandard drugs. Another 32.3% cited the law restricting the practice. Most often (44%) people said they preferred to get medication from local pharmacists, which I liked – but I’m aware that for that group affordability was less of an issue.
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.
In case you didn’t know, PharmacyChecker is based in New York. We are a proud American company, one that has helped millions of Americans for well over a decade get the information they need to save money safely if choosing to buy lower cost, imported medication online. While my focus is often the American consumer, I’m very much concerned with medicine access needs globally, too.
The fact is that online access to affordable medication is helping consumers throughout the world. We’re going to look at one very interesting and uplifting example from the United Kingdom, where people in at-risk communities are saving themselves from contracting HIV through the safe purchase of medication over the Internet and importing it for personal use.
The title of an article in the New Scientist pinpoints the gist of what’s going on: “Massive drop in HIV rates may be due to Internet Drugs.” In late 2016, four health clinics in London saw a dramatic drop in new HIV infections of 40% among gay men over a 12-month period. That period corresponded with the launch of I Want PrEP Now (https://www.iwantprepnow.co.uk/), a non-profit initiative that helps people safely buy generic Truvada online. While it’s possible that other factors are at play, public health experts attributed the drop in new HIV infections to the ability of people to obtain generic Truvada affordably through the Internet. I cannot vouch for the online pharmacies recommended through I Want PrEP because we have not verified them in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, but read on to see amazing evidence of the safety and efficacy of the medications ordered. (more…)
Kelly Ann Barnes, JD, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Verification and Information, PharmacyChecker.com
Last week PharmacyChecker.com announced that we hired Kelly Ann Barnes, JD, RPh, as Vice President for Pharmacy Verification and Information. A licensed U.S. pharmacist for 23 years, before coming to PharmacyChecker.com Kelly was the Director of Pharmacy Quality Assurance for the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy. She joined us to run the PharmacyChecker Verification Program to verify, monitor and enforce, and further develop online pharmacy standards; check pharmacy licenses; inspect pharmacies in various countries that fill orders internationally; and discipline online pharmacies that are not meeting our standards. Kelly will also be helping answer questions from consumers about pharmacy safety, medication use, and of course prescription drug savings, including more focus on saving money at local pharmacies.
I’m really psyched to be working with Kelly and for those in the medical and public health communities that follow PharmacyChecker.com to get to know her over the coming years. Patient safety is foremost on our minds at PharmacyCheceker.com and our commitment to consumers is fortified by hiring an American pharmacist with a proven track record of dedication to pharmacy quality and patient safety.
Just yesterday, I read in CBS News that drug prices are set to skyrocket by 50% over the next few years – and that patients are often directly hit with higher out of pocket costs. Our pharmaceutical drug bill according to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics was $424 billion last year and is going up to $640 billion by 2020.
The CBS article begins as follows: “Americans are getting sick and tired of the rising cost of their prescription medications. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that consumers will get a break any time soon.” The U.S. is already paying about twice as much on medications compared with other rich and industrialized nations – and it looks like it’s just getting worse. The safest international online pharmacies give consumers the ability to access lower cost medication so they don’t have to skip taking medications, choose between food and medicine, or go broke. With Kelly on board, we’re enhancing our critical efforts to give Americans the best information available about online pharmacy safety and savings and therefore the opportunity to afford medications they need to stay healthy, get better and survive.