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PharmacyChecker Submits Public Comments to HHS Focused on Internet Purchases of Medicines for Personal Import

Americans Order Medication From AbroadFrom time to time, we participate in the public policy process by submitting public comments to government agencies requesting them. In May of this year, after introducing the Trump administration’s blue print plan for lowering drug prices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked the public to comment on the Trump administration plan and/or make recommendations for lowering drug prices and out-of-pocket prescription costs.

I submitted comments that were laser-focused on PharmacyChecker’s area of greatest expertise, personal drug importation and online pharmacies. My comments clarify why and how properly-verified, international online pharmacies are a lifeline of safe and affordable medicines for Americans.

PharmacyChecker Public Comments to HHS July 13, 2018

The basic recommendations offered in the comments are below:

 

  • Under Section 804 (j) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should expressly permit medicine imports for personal use to empower patients seeking affordable medication.
  • Per the above, implement the Australian model of making personal drug importation legal with caveats to prohibit personal use imports of controlled drugs, especially prescription narcotics.
  • The FDA should end its blanket warning against ordering medicines online, imported for personal use from pharmacies in Canada and other countries, and instead provide guidance on best practices for those who choose to import.
  • The FDA should stop seizing personal imports of non-controlled medicines arriving from pharmacies that the FDA knows are licensed and require valid prescriptions.
  • The FDA should take no enforcement actions against international online pharmacies that it has reason to believe are the safest international options available to Americans and instead focus on those that represent the gravest threats, particularly ones that sell prescription narcotics.
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Alex Azar is the Wrong Pick to Lead HHS

Last month, I published an op-ed in The Guardian in opposition to Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services. In advance of the Senate Finance Committee Hearing tomorrow over his nomination, I’m publishing my article in its entirety below. 

Recently, the president announced Alex Azar as his nominee to lead the US Department of Health and Human Services, saying: “He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” People like me – experts in drug policy and advocates for lowering drug costs for American patients – know that nothing could be farther from the truth.

On average, Americans pay twice as much for life-saving drugs as consumers in other developed countries. It doesn’t have to be this way, but unfortunately, Azar might think so.

On Wednesday, Azar appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. While he stated his commitment to lowering drug prices, he declined to support the two solutions that would have the greatest impact on patients. In fact, he and his company have vigorously opposed policies that would make healthcare more affordable for the rest of us. (more…)

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Opposing Alex Azar’s Nomination to HHS in The Guardian

Alex Azar, Eli Lilly

Alex Azar and Eli Lilly have opposed policies that would make healthcare more affordable for Americans. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

As I wrote a few weeks back on these blog pages, President Trump’s nomination of Alex Azar to lead the Department of Health and Human Services will help Big Pharma continue to get away with murder; something the president says he opposes. Mr. Azar just left Eli Lilly USA earlier this year as its president. Under his tenure with Lilly, Azar vehemently opposed importing lower-cost medications from Canada among other polices to tackle high drug prices.

In my capacity as founder of Prescription Justice, I published an op-ed in The Guardian called “Alex Azar is big pharma personified. He must not become US health secretary.” A Big Pharma executive is not the right pick to get this country moving on lowering drug prices. I’m just saying…

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