Americans overwhelmingly believe that drug prices are unreasonably high in our country. Millions have looked to the Internet to find lower drug prices at pharmacies in other countries, many because they have no other choice. For over 16 years, PharmacyChecker has provided online pharmacy verification and drug price comparison information to help these people. As I’ve written about for years, the drug companies and U.S. pharmacy corporations don’t like this and take actions to make it stop.
PharmacyChecker has filed a lawsuit against organizations and companies that we allege are illegally conspiring to “to choke off information about personal importation of affordable prescription medications from regulated, reputable pharmacies in Canada and elsewhere overseas.”
The defendants in the case are the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), LegitScript, Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), and the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM). We allege that they have directly and illegally targeted PharmacyChecker.com.
An article in Tarbell from last summer gives you the lay of the land about these groups:
Generally, the case looks to our nation’s antitrust laws, the Sherman and Clayton Acts, for justice. Antitrust laws are supposed to stop anti-competitive practices that keep prices artificially high in the marketplace. In the case of prescription drugs, the negative effects of anti-competitive practices are not just economic but, much worse, affect the public health. High prices prevent tens of millions of Americans from filling their prescriptions!
For a walk down memory lane, I testified before Congress in 2013 about the potential danger of most of the named defendants acting together to discourage and prevent access to what we believe are safe international online pharmacies that sell affordable and safe prescription drugs. My warnings have gone unheeded, but that hasn’t stopped me from speaking up year after year, including in The New York Times (2014), The Guardian (2017) and The Nation (2019).
And, so, we’ve been directly targeted to shut us up and block our information. In fact, even this blog was targeted – added to a “Not Recommended Sites” list by NABP which, we allege, has been used, through a conspiracy of groups, to get Google and Bing to disadvantage listed sites in their search results. We allege that this is the reason that a search on Google for “online pharmacies” won’t show PharmacyChecker until the 9th page (virtually out-of-sight) while, before being added to the NABP’s list, we were #1.
Want more evidence?
Go to Bing and search for this blog and try to click on the link. You can’t. Instead, a WARNING box shows up that links to the NABP list.
So, here we are: PharmacyChecker vs. Big Pharma front groups in court. It’s a case that everyone should be paying attention to because anti-competitive practices affect us all, especially when it comes to drug prices.
I noticed in re-reading my aforementioned congressional testimony that I had not mentioned the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, one of the defendants in our case. So, I want to end this post showing you who they are and represent in their own words. Keep in mind before reading the next section that one of the key misinformation tactics of some pharma front groups is conflating all international online pharmacies, and/or even drug importation from Canada, with counterfeit drug pushers to make it sound like they’re protecting people rather than their profits or their intellectual property rights.
Here’s an email from drug company Eli Lilly to a person in the White House Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) from 2010 introducing ASOP:
“Additionally, would you like to set up a time to meet with our group – The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) – later this month or in June? There are various stakeholders involved (NABP, APHA, PSM, LegitScript), we would need some lead time to get them in Washington.
As a reminder – ASOP is the manner in which Lilly (and PhRMA as an observer) is working with other key stakeholders to compile data and collaborate to address the problem of online drug sellers/counterfeits, as we cannot do this as one company, or as PhRMA alone. I would see value in an introductory meeting with ASOP to discuss the recommendations submitted to IPEC.”
To learn more, please read about the lawsuit and our related advocacy.Tagged with: Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, LegitScript, NABP, National Associations of Boards of Pharmacy, Partnership for Safe Medicines, Sherman and Clayton Acts, tarbell