Two years ago, ABC News ran a segment (What Would You Do?) that showed Americans going out of their way to help strangers who could not afford their medication. Actors visited local pharmacies pretending they could not afford to pay for their much-needed prescription drugs – something that happens frequently in the U.S. Some people offered to help pay for part or all of the drug orders, and one man even left the pharmacy to get money from an ATM. In addition to financial assistance, these individuals also offered words of solidarity against the outrageous costs. Karen Wenberg (real person) told the woman (actress) she was helping: “Don’t be embarrassed. You know what? Medication is so f***ing expensive. There is no reason to be embarrassed… Sometimes we just pass on the good that’s been given to us.”
As we write this, Congress is marking up a new law, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), one supported by the Obama administration that could effectively block Americans from acquiring safe and affordable medication from online pharmacies outside the U.S. As the government seeks to rein in spending, why do they want to stop consumers from getting non-tax-payer funded, affordable medication? When people go without medication, they can become sick or get sicker, putting a great burden on the health care system. To see what the government is doing, read RxRight.org’s guest post on techdirt.
Drug affordability and prescription abandonment is an immense problem in the United States (see RxSOS), and hats off to ABC News for shedding light on the subject. While ABC News doesn’t offer suggestions for a solution to the drug affordability problem, it does uncover the stark reality that most people will not have a stranger foot the bill and will go without needed medication. This is why PharmacyChecker.com finds it so important to get the word out about all safe prescription saving options, including online pharmacies, domestic and foreign. Unverified and rogue pharmacies can be just as, or more, dangerous as prescription abandonment, so we urge consumers to look for the PharmacyChecker Verification Program Seal. Through these properly credentialed online pharmacies, Americans can save up to 80% on their brand name and generic prescription drugs, which means they will be far more likely to actually take needed medication.
To be fair, the government is helping in some substantial ways. It has passed healthcare legislation that will end up affecting more Americans, starting mostly in 2014. It has also increased Medicare drug benefits, which are helpful. But what’s the difference right now when 48 million American’s can’t fill a prescription due to cost?!
Congress must abandon ridiculous efforts, such as SOPA, to protect pharmaceutical industry profits at the expense of American consumers under the guise of protecting them from counterfeit drugs. Laws, regulation, and enforcement that make it harder for Americans to afford needed medication threaten the public health because fewer Americans will take their drugs. By continuing to allow Americans to purchase affordable medication from verified non-U.S. online pharmacies the government can act morally, a much better option than obstructing efforts by Americans to acquire the medication they need.