The “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), currently before Congress, threatens online access to safe and affordable medication through reputable international online pharmacies. A CBS-Fort Myers report gives a human face to this issue by highlighting a Floridian senior, Mary Miller, who is able to afford her medication only because of a Canadian online pharmacy. If SOPA passes, Ms. Miller may lose access to that Canadian online pharmacy. The CBS report features RxRights.org as the lead organization helping Americans rally to contact their elected officials to oppose SOPA.
Stopping rogue sites in many areas, such as those sites that steal and re-sell copyrighted movies and music, sell knockoffs of designer handbags and clothes, and especially those that sell dangerous or fake medication is the right idea. But a bill that could takedown many websites that are exercising the rights of free speech, publishing music and movies legally, and especially websites selling safe and affordable medication, is a bill that should be abandoned post-haste.
RxRights.org should be loudly applauded for its work on behalf of Americans who are struggling to afford medication by educating Americans about SOPA and how it could block access to affordable prescription medication.
The simple answer is that tens of millions of Americans cannot afford prescription drugs here in the United States because they’re too expensive. Meanwhile, drug prices outside the U.S. are much lower – often 80% lower. Americans skipping or not taking prescription drugs is a national emergency largely going ignored in our healthcare debate.
Here are the facts about Americans skipping medication due to drug prices:
1. 25 million Americans did not take prescribed medication in 2009 due to cost, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1997 to 2009, the percentage of Americans not taking their medications due to cost nearly doubled increasing from 4.8 to 8.4%.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus10.pdf#highlights
2. 48 million Americans ages 19-64 did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2010, according to the Commonwealth Fund – a 66% increase since 2001.
Source: The Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Surveys/2011/Mar/2010-Biennial-Health-Insurance-Survey.aspx.
3. 3.4 million Medicare enrollees stop taking their medication due to the coverage gap.
Source: Polinski JM, Shrank WH, Huskamp HA, Glynn RJ, Liberman JN, et al. 2011 Changes in Drug Utilization during a Gap in Insurance Coverage: An Examination of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap. PLoS Medicine.
4. Prescription non-adherence adds $290 billion to America’s healthcare costs.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 76 FR 12969. March 2011. http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/03/09/2011-5287/campaign-to-improve-poor-medication-adherence-u18.
Access our RxSOS fact sheet here.
In its July 2011 Progress Report, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) continues to do a disservice to Americans by classifying safe pharmacies in other countries as “rogue.” Out of the 8,000 sites “Not Recommended” by NABP, PharmacyChecker.com research shows 53 are safe international online pharmacies.
It is laudable and helpful to Americans when the NABP exposes truly rogue pharmacies, i.e., those that sell Americans fake drugs or even real drugs but without a prescription. However, the NABP has chosen, year after year, to lump in with these rogues, any pharmacy that is not based in the United States.
How can the NABP do this? Unfortunately, U.S. law says it is, under most circumstances, illegal for Americans to get their medicine from Canada or other countries. So NABP freely uses terms like “rogue,” “illicit,” and “illegal” when describing any foreign pharmacy. We see no reason to mislead the public into thinking that safe foreign pharmacies pose a danger and belong in the same group as rogue pharmacies. (more…)
We’re pleased to announce that we have translated our Guide called How To Save Money on Prescription Drugs, Safely – A Consumer Guide into Spanish, expanding access to our online pharmacy savings information to the Spanish-speaking community. Along with our PharmacyChecker Spanish homepage, and About Online Pharmacies page – Farmacias virtuales y de entrega por correo: Lo que usted debe saber – the Guide can be an exceedingly valuable resource for uninsured and under-insured Spanish-speaking people who live in the United States.
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.
For more information on our Spanish-Language Consumer Guide, see our recent Press Release – and access the Guide itself, published on our English and Spanish homepages PharmacyChecker.com and PharmacyChecker.com/default_sp.asp.
To remind our readers about the White House meeting on Wednesday, September 29th — where discussions will be held with leaders from ICANN and domain registrars to address the issue of online pharmacies and counterfeit drugs — we’re republishing the post of the letter we sent to ICANN stating our position.
September 13th, 2010
Mr. John O. Jeffery
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601
RE: White House meeting to discuss online pharmacies
Dear John –
We are the president and vice president of PharmacyChecker.com, the leading online verification company for U.S. and international online pharmacies. We learned recently of the White House meeting scheduled for September 29th intended to focus on “voluntary protocols to address the illegal online sale of counterfeit non-controlled prescription medication” (the “Meeting”).
The broader legal and policy issues affecting whether and when ICANN and its members should accede to government requests to deny or cancel domain name registrations is a very serious one for the future of the internet, and is generally beyond our purview. Our purpose is to set out for you and your members some considerations that should affect your evaluation of whatever may be presented at the Meeting. We request that you make this letter available to all members invited to or attending the Meeting. The letter is necessarily in summary form, and we would be pleased to provide upon request additional information that may assist you. (more…)