As the retrial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges commences, we’d like to re-direct your attention to the personal drug importation program he championed. Had that program received better backing from our politicians, fewer Americans would have gone without needed medications.
In October of 2004, a personal drug importation program called I-Save Rx was launched under the leadership of Blagojevich and then Congressman Rahm Immanuel. The lead pharmacist responsible for the program’s development was Ram Kamath, PharmD, now Director of Pharmacy Policy and International Verifications for PharmacyChecker.com. I-Save Rx showed state residents how to access affordable medication from approved pharmacies in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Within just seven months, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and Vermont had joined the initiative, allowing their residents to participate as well.
Unfortunately, after its approval, the government did not market the I-Save Rx program and it suffered due a lack of political will. But I-Save Rx’s creation proved that government could, without much difficulty, create a program to facilitate the purchase of affordable medication from Canada and other countries. In fact, our current Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was governor of Kansas when she approved the program for use by her state’s residents. It should speak volumes that the administration official now tasked by President Obama with “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves” approved of a personal drug importation program and made it available to the residents of Kansas.
As the crisis of Americans not taking their medication due to cost continues, let’s not pretend that the Federal ban on personal drug importation remains for the protection of public health. Quite the contrary: blocking access to safe and affordable medication means more Americans go without the prescription drugs they need. It’s likely that Secretary Sebelius would agree. Just as the I-Save Rx program closed because politicians did not have the political will to promote its use, so too, today, a lack of political will exists, inhibiting the expansion of drug importation to make medicine more affordable for Americans.Tagged with: Americans, Blagojevich, Canada, Dr. Ram Kamath, Drug Importation, Health Secretary, I-Save RX, Ireland, Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, Missouri, President Obama, public health, Rahm Immanuel, Retrial, United Kingdom, United States, Vermont, Wisconsin