The hearings on Capitol Hill about drug prices were a big deal this week. To policy wonks. All the rage was the report by the National Academies of Sciences about policies to lower drug prices. There was lot of intriguing discussion, debate, and deliberation on things we should do. Many that I agree with! Blah, blah, blah, blah. Medicare should negotiate drug prices! We should make generics available quicker! We should clamp down on patent abuse by big pharma! More price transparency! Stop direct-to-consumer advertising! Blah, blah, blah…blah. All of this was a big deal. To policy wonks.
What about people today?!??!
Now I like talking policy – too much sometimes. But I’m not writing about that hearing. No way. I came across a little piece in the New York Times, which loudly reminded me of this fact: While Congress debates, activists act, and policy nuts pontificate on drug prices –foreign pharmacies are the solution that saves American lives NOW. This is indisputable.
Access to more affordable drugs keeps Americans out of the hospital, able to lead more productive lives – and living. That’s what the most conclusive research proves.
For that reason: There’s no doubt in my mind that properly verified Canadian and other foreign online pharmacies are a boon to public health because they are far cheaper than U.S. pharmacies. Just to be clear: It’s not just that they help Americans save hundreds of millions of dollars a year – maybe billions (wish I knew). They are saving lives. (more…)
Tagged with: Commonwealth Fund, Congress, FDA, Hearings, Medication Adherence, National Academy of Sciences
Last week we wrote that we would present a new section of Gabe Levitt’s report on online pharmacies. This week, we are going to start off with the Executive Summary of the report. We’ve given a sample below, but you’ll have to visit PharmacyChecker.com to view the whole Executive Summary.
Tagged with: CDC, Commonwealth Fund, drug affordability, FDASIA, GAO, government auditing standards, Medication Adherence, Section 1127
The U.S. government relies on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for objective and independent research and analysis of government programs and policies that affect public health. GAO’s report entitled Internet Pharmacies: Federal Agencies and States Face Challenges Combatting Rogue Sites, Particularly Those Abroad (the “GAO report”) contains critical inaccuracies and omits important peer-reviewed research to the extent that lawmakers and their staffs will likely draw erroneous conclusions about international online pharmacies that could lead to overreaching and unnecessary enforcement actions that disadvantage consumers and threaten public health. The GAO report was written pursuant to Section 1127 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 (FDASIA), a law dedicated to protecting public health.
In contrast to the GAO report, the following holistic, consumer-focused, evidence-based analysis discusses online pharmacies within the important context of a health crisis caused by high drug prices in America, and can more appropriately guide lawmakers on how to protect the public from counterfeit or substandard medication. Legitimate public health concerns about rogue online pharmacies are being used to encourage legislative, regulatory, and private sector actions that curtail online access to safe and affordable medication. The consequence of overreach could be millions more Americans facing economic hardship or having to forgo prescribed medication, which studies show can lead to more sickness and death.
Fifty million Americans did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2012, according to the Commonwealth Fund. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, over half of Americans who do not take prescription medication due to cost report becoming sicker.1 That means potentially 25 million Americans become sicker each year because they can’t afford prescribed medication. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about five million Americans buy prescription drugs from foreign sources each year for reasons of cost. Additional estimates show that between four and five million Americans get their imported prescription drugs through international online pharmacies due to their lower prices.
New data from Consumer Reports shows that 67% more adults without prescription benefits under the age of 65 skipped filling a prescription due to high drug prices this year compared to last year. In 2012, 45% of respondents reported they did not fill a prescription due to cost, up from 27% in 2011.
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Tracking Poll, July 2012,
Consumer Reports National Research Center. Click to enlarge.
These results should not be surprising. Many Americans aged 50-65 who lost their jobs during the recession also lost their health insurance. This age group has also had the most difficulty finding work after losing their jobs during the recession. These Americans are not yet eligible for Medicare Part D, which helps reduce prescription drug costs.
Alarmingly, the majority of respondents (both insured and uninsured) to the Consumer Reports survey said that they reduced other household expenses in order to pay for medications. Eighty-four percent of uninsured Americans reported a change in behavior in order to pay for medication. The number of insured Americans reporting a change is also high, at 59%. Budgets for groceries decreased, payment of bills postponed, and credit card payments increased: all because of the high cost of medication.
If you are struggling to pay for medication, keep the following in mind when about to purchase medication. Look for generic alternatives to brand name medications in the United States. Look for drug discount cards or coupons if you are purchasing medicine at a local pharmacy. If there’s no generic alternative, you can look for international online pharmacies and often find savings of 90%. Just make sure they are verified and safe, such as those listed on PharmacyChecker.com.
Tagged with: Consumer Reports, Drug Prices, Medication Adherence, pharmacychecker.com