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. (more…)
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
The Obama administration is taking actions to address the illegal sale of counterfeit prescription drugs online. These efforts can benefit patients who could fall victim to rogue online pharmacies, but may also limit access to safe and affordable medication provided by non-U.S. international online pharmacies, many based in Canada. Millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans have purchased prescription drugs through, and relied on, such websites to afford medicine.
Last Monday, the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria Espinel, stated that her office was in discussions with Google, Go Daddy, American Express, and Microsoft about cracking down on online pharmacies, and that an announcement about IPEC’s plans moving forward will be made within weeks. This statement seems to be a follow-up to a late-September meeting held by IPEC, which brought together domain registrars and registries to discuss voluntary protocols to combat the sale of non-controlled counterfeit medication online. As we reported, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) notably declined its invitation to attend this meeting, and at least one of its attendees, Go Daddy general counsel Christine Jones, as reported on Domain Incite, communicated that intellectual property protection was not discussed and voluntary protocols were not agreed to. Jones also shared her understanding that an “FDA solution” might be used to combat counterfeit drugs being sold online. Espinel’s statement last week suggests the same. (more…)
Tagged with: Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, American Express, drugs from canada, FDA, GoDaddy, Google, I-Save RX, ICANN, intellectual property rights, Interpol, IPEC, Joseph Biden, Katheleen Sebelius, Margaret Hamburg, Microsoft, Obama Administration, Online Pharmacies, Pfizer, public health, Public Library of Science One, Rahm Immanuel, rogue pharmacies, under-insured, uninsured, United States
Although his bill to legalize personal drug importation was not passed along with the new healthcare legislation, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has partnered with Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) to continue efforts to make safe and affordable medication accessible to their constituents. They are petitioning the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to allow their states to import prescription medicines from Canada, where price controls mean much lower drug costs for consumers. Dorgan and Schweitzer support personal drug importation because it will mean an estimated $400 million in annual savings for their states, as well as competitive pricing pressure on U.S. drug prices. (more…)
Tagged with: Dorgan, Drug Importation, I-Save RX, Schwetizer, Sebelius