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Omnibus Bill Empowers FDA to Confiscate Imported Drugs

The recently signed appropriations or “omnibus” bill to fund the federal government includes an additional $94 million (Section 778) for the FDA to screen and stop drug imports at international mail facilities (IMFs). That could mean fewer people receiving their prescription medications that they have ordered from Canadian or other international pharmacies.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the FDA’s coming crackdown against opioids could be a cover for greater import refusals and destruction of imported medications. This new appropriation of $94 million is a lot of money. In the case of drug importation, that money could be used for good (intercepting opioid ingredients en route to drug dealers or addicts) or evil (refusing and destroying prescribed medication en route to a patient who can’t afford the drug here).

You can read the section of the bill showing the appropriation and what it’s for at the end of this post. It states that the money is for “necessary expenses of processing opioid and other articles imported or offered for import through international mail facilities of the U.S. Postal Service.” Those “other articles” include prescription medications from pharmacies in Canada and other countries. Since the FDA considers those imports illegal, at least under most circumstances, it can refuse them and even destroy them – but must first alert the patient who ordered them giving them due process to defend their prescription order. (more…)

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FDA Actions Against Canadian Pharmacy Storefronts in Florida

Florida PharmacyNovember 20, 2017 — Kaiser Health News reported that the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations sent agents and search warrants to several companies in Florida — often referred to as pharmacy storefronts — because they help Americans place orders and fill prescriptions with pharmacies located in Canada in addition to other countries.

Read the full story here: FDA Raids Florida Stores That Consumers Use to Buy Drugs from Canada

The FDA has a lot of regulatory latitude to shape its enforcement agenda. Its efforts against counterfeit drug sales, opioid pushers (including drug companies), and rogue websites can greatly protect public health. However, we know that FDA/OCI has a history of actions more focused on protecting the profits of pharmaceutical companies.

PharmacyChecker.com opposes enforcement actions that target the safest international pharmacy options, whether via online pharmacies or storefronts, on which many Americans have come to rely because they can’t afford medications locally.

FDA has informed storefront operators that prescription drug importation is illegal and that they could face fines or jailtime for helping Americans buy lower-cost medication. (more…)

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Saluting Veterans and Shaming Big Pharma Drug Dealers

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.

That’s not all.

(more…)

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