When you lose count of how many folks have the same suspicion about a prescription medication, action is compulsory. Joe and Teresa Graedon, founders of The People’s Pharmacy, not only have an admirable track record of telling health consumers how it is, but also listening to those in their readership. Years ago, they took on the Food and Drug Administration in regards to Budeprion XL distributed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the supposed generic equivalent to the popular antidepressant, Wellbutrin XL. Many readers complained that it just wasn’t cutting it compared to the brand name version. In fact, many people reported that when they were switched to the Teva generic Wellbutrin XL, their depression returned.
When you go to your local CVS and Walgreens – and other big
pharmacy chains – are you getting the highest standard of care? Or do they care
more about the billions of dollars in profits they make each year and how to
increase those profits? Have these pharmacies gone rogue? Millions of
medication errors have caused illness and death in America – and this problem
has recently come into greater focus as pharmacists increasingly blow
the whistle on their employers.
Yet the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)
doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to medication errors at U.S.
pharmacies. Instead, they choose to spend their time “educating” the public
about the dangers of prescription drug importation, warning Americans that it’s
not safe to buy lower-cost medicines from other countries over the Internet.
They have even included PharmacyChecker.com and this very blog (!) on a list of
over 12,000 “Not Recommended Sites” – websites that they have categorized as
safety threats from importation that put people and their families at risk. We
have sued them for defamation and antitrust violations.
Here’s proof that the NABP are paying relatively little
attention to medication errors compared to internet pharmacies. On the NABP’s
website, under the category of Medication
Errors, you’ll see seven posts and nothing since 2015. Under the
Pharmacies, you’ll find 122 posts.
Martin Shkreli, who became famous overnight back
in 2015 for raising the price of Daraprim 5000%, is back in the headlines. Tagged
the “pharma bro” for the cavalier attitude he fronted about his greed, Martin
is actually currently behind bars. No, not for raising a drug price – otherwise
the jails would overflow with pharma execs – but for financial fraud related to
his work as hedge fund manager.
Now, years later, Shkreli, the company Vyera Pharmaceuticals
(formerly Turing Pharmaceuticals) and his colleague, Kevin Mulleady, are being
charged by the Federal Trade Commission and NY State Attorney General Letitia
James. With what? Pasted from the AG’s press
Amazon Pharmacy recently registered
trademarks in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom but has not
announced its stated plans for these registrations. For those of you who did
not know that there is an Amazon Pharmacy, now you do. Amazon
acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 as part of its push into
pharmaceutical sales. Pillpack specializes in the delivery of prescription drug
orders in specially-tailored packages to meet the individual needs of patients.
In its own words: “Our claim to fame is delivering medications pre-sorted into
packets by time of day. And we’re very good at that.” As of the end of last
year, Amazon began branding PillPack-related information with “Amazon
Pharmacy.” Also noteworthy is that prior to its acquisition of PillPack, Amazon
started to quietly obtain wholesale
The company Blink Health is advertising Canadian drugs on
Google, even though it does not sell medication from Canadian pharmacies. Should
the company do that? Is that false advertising?
in early 2016, Blink Health offers consumers the ability to purchase
prescription medicines from its app or website and pick them up from local
pharmacies in their neighborhoods. This distinguishes them other drug price
comparison leaders that offer pharmacy discount cards and coupons for U.S.
pharmacies – ours is called the PharmacyChecker
Discount Card. Since Blink Health’s launch, several similar services have
sprouted, most notably Capsule,
which launched in my hometown.
As I understand it, the firm’s goal is to find and increase
discounts as it develops greater buying power through greater volumes, also
known as economies of scale. I like it and it’s my hope – and belief – that Blink
Health is saving people money on their generics. So, hats off to you, Blink
But it’s kind of aggravating that, as I see it, Blink Health is fooling consumers who are looking for lower cost prescription drugs from Canada who will likely not get what they’re looking for when they click that ad. Brand drugs cost way more at Blink Health than in Canada.