by Gabriel Levitt, Vice President, PharmacyChecker.com and Margaret Rode, PharmacyChecker.com | Feb 17, 2012 | Healthcare Reform, Medicare Drug Plans, Personal Drug Importation
“President Obama just released next year’s budget proposal and it has already sparked fierce criticism from the pharmaceutical industry. That’s because the plan would require Big Pharma to give an additional $156 billion in drug rebates over the next decade.”
This news comes from RxRight.org’s latest blog post, entitled Big Pharma balks at President’s proposed budget. Not surprisingly, as articulated by its president, John Castellani, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is against the rebates and other reforms found in Obama’s budget. One point championed by Mr. Castellani as a reason to criticize President Obama is that the “Medicare Part D is working well for seniors.” While Part D has certainly helped many seniors afford needed medication, the RxRights post, and empirical data, show that millions of seniors still struggle to afford necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription drugs because of costs – despite Medicare Part D drugs plans.
In fact, the failure of Medicare Part D is one reason that reputable international online pharmacies remain a lifeline for Medicare enrollees. It appears if Obama’s budget is approved, without changes to his prescription drug rebate requests, then more Americans will forgo the international option in favor of domestic pharmacies.
Tagged with: affordable prescriptions, Americans, brand name drugs, Healthcare Reform, Medicare, Medicare Drug Plans, Obama, Part D, personal drug importation, phrma, rebates, save money, United States
by Gabriel Levitt, Vice President, PharmacyChecker.com and Margaret Rode, PharmacyChecker.com | Dec 21, 2011 | Drug Importation, Personal Drug Importation
Although the U.S. technically bans the personal importation of affordable and safe drugs that help people stay or get healthy (for example Merck’s asthma medication Singulair, sold in other countries for a fraction of the price found in U.S. pharmacies, is not technically FDA-approved due to different packaging), we waive our drug importation laws when it comes to European Union-produced sodium thiopental – a non-FDA-approved version, for lethal injections.
Sodium thiopental is a required sedative in U.S. executions, and earlier this year the only U.S. manufacturer ceased producing it. For this reason, we now rely on EU imports – a practice that is getting more and more difficult, as export controls have been strengthened on their end because our EU allies oppose the death penalty.
We find it sad and ironic that our government facilitates the importation of a drug used for executions, regardless of one’s position on the death penalty, but refuses to loosen restrictions on personal importation for drugs that help Americans live.
Tagged with: banned, death penalty, EU imports, European Union, executions, export controls, FDA-approved, lethal injections, Merck, personal importation, prescription, safe drugs, sedative, Singulair, sodium thiopental, U.S. manufacturer
by Gabriel Levitt, Vice President, PharmacyChecker.com and Margaret Rode, PharmacyChecker.com | Dec 16, 2011 | Drug Prices, Personal Drug Importation
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. (more…)
Tagged with: ABC, assistance, brand name drugs, Congress, drug affordability, drug benefits, generic drugs, healthcare, high cost, legislation, local pharmacies, Medicare, pharmaceutical industry, PharmacyChecker Verification Program, prescription abandonment, prescription drugs, RxRights.org, savings, SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, tax-payers, tech dirt, United States, What Would You Do?