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President Trump, Use Your Executive Authority on Drug Prices

Yesterday, for a second time, President Trump said drug companies are getting away with murder. This time Trump talked about how much lower drug prices are in other countries:

“If you look at the same exact drug, by the same exact company…sold someplace else, sometimes it’s a fraction of what we pay in this country…We want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying. I don’t mean [Americans] are paying 2% more. I mean they are paying double, triple, quadruple…”

Using executive authority under current law to expand access to lower-cost imported medications, President Trump could do something about it immediately. The guy is no stranger to executive authority! Currently, he’s using executive authority to put Obamacare out of business, measures which, in case you were wondering, I strongly oppose. Those moves will make people lose their health insurance and are opposed by over half my fellow Americans.

In contrast, if President Trump used his executive authority on drug prices, he would get an overwhelming chorus of support from the Left, Middle, Right and every which way around.

So how does this go down?

Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, an executive branch agency, can “by regulation or on a case-by-case basis…permit individuals” to import medication if “the importation is clearly for personal use…and the prescription drug or device imported does not appear to present an unreasonable risk to the individual.”

What are you waiting for, boss? See the report by Prescription Justice on using executive authority to allow safe personal drug importation from international online pharmacies.

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Public Opinion on Drug Prices, Importation and Online Pharmacies

consumers and drug prices

Will drug price angst unite America?

The executive director of Prescription Justice, Jodi Dart, published an op-ed in Morning Consult earlier this week called The Rx Rip-Off. The piece does contain Ms. Dart’s opinions but there are also some facts reported, ones based on a Zogby poll on drug prices commissioned by Prescription Justice. The poll shows that 90% of Americans are united on the need for the government to take action to make medication more affordable! As an incredible coincidence, President Trump tweeted just hours after the op-ed was published that “Pricing for the American people will come way down!

There’s a lot in this poll that I look forward to writing about but let’s consider some of the broad findings of the poll:

  • 75.5% of Americans agree with President Trump that the “drug companies are getting away with murder:
  • 29.6% of Americans say they have not filled a prescription because of cost.
  • 4.2% say they currently get prescription medication from a Canadian or other international online pharmacy.
  • 77% of respondents who had an opinion on the issue of importation laws (522 out of 674) supported reforms so that consumers could lawfully purchase medicines from Canada or other countries.
  • Only 15% of respondents were actually against legalizing personal drug importation (23% of those who had an opinion).

Source: Zogby Analytics, margin of error +/- 3.1%: http://prescriptionjustice.org/Prescription_Justice_Zogby_Poll_Data_Feb_2017.pdf.

(more…)

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Having to Choose Between Food and Medicine in America – a Reminder on Thanksgiving

We The PeopleIt’s a national disgrace that this Thanksgiving Americans will go without medication because prices are too high. First Coast News in Jacksonville, FL, and other ABC local stations, teamed up to report on the continuing crisis of high drug prices. Its opening is chilling: “In living rooms and kitchens across the First Coast, families are choosing between food and vital medicine.”

The report notes that prescription drug spending is much higher in the United States than in other rich countries. Why? “Well, other countries directly negotiate drug prices on behalf of their citizens.” And that explains why Americans are buying medications from outside the U.S., despite the federal restrictions. They are cheaper overseas.

Today I’m not feeling like just slamming Big Pharma and drug companies for their greed. On the heels of this bizarre national election, it’s our elected leaders who need to feel the heat. President Elect Donald Trump states: “Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.” It’s one of the few things that Americans, Right, Left and Center, would agree on.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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