A lot of media coverage about counterfeit drug threats in the U.S. are spurred by the media relations efforts of organizations funded by pharmaceutical companies, such as the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies and Partnership for Safe Medicines. As I see it, their public education efforts conflate safe online sales of medicines imported by consumers in the U.S. with counterfeit drug sales and other forms of drug sales, ones that clearly harm patients. One such article that did not fall prey to the propaganda was published in Kaiser Health News’ California Healthline detailing street market sales of prescription drugs, including cases that involve counterfeit drugs and the dangers they pose. Journalists who are looking closely, checking the funding of organizations disseminating information about prescription drug importation, can help stop the propaganda of the pharmaceutical industry.
The Kaiser story, written by John M. Glionna, focuses on
Latino immigrant communities in which people can’t afford medication or, due to
their immigration status, are fearful of deportation if they go to federally-funded
clinics for medical treatments. Eight people were arrested and charged with
illegal street sales of prescription drugs, including injectables and
controlled drugs. Glionna describes the LA County authorities report:
We have a great new Spanish version of our site that you can find here: http://www.pharmacychecker.com/es/. We’re really proud of this! Spanish-speaking Americans and immigrants who can’t speak English or just feel more comfortable in Spanish can access our online pharmacy verifications, international and local pharmacy drug price comparisons, and learn how to afford and find savings of 90% on many prescription drugs.
And check this out: there are more Spanish speakers living in the U.S. than in Spain! About 53 million overall, with 11 million of them native English-speakers who are bilingual. So the prescription savings information that is now in Spanish on PharmacyChecker.com could be a great boon to tens of millions of Americans and immigrants living in the U.S.
People who don’t take their prescribed medications can get sick, end up in the hospital or die. No one living in the United States should have to go without medication because of cost and our new Spanish site will potentially help fewer people make that decision.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 14.3% of American Hispanics did not take their prescribed medication in 2009 due to cost.The situation is much worse for Hispanic non-citizens, 29 percent who said they did not take their medication due to cost. These dire statistics prove that greater access to affordable medication is most acutely needed by the Hispanic community. We believe that our Guide can help the Hispanic community better access the medicines they need safely.