PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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International Online Pharmacy Report for 2013: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This article summarizes good things and bad that are happening online with drug prices and savings, economics, legislation, politics, and even ethics that relate to access by Americans to more affordable medication offered by safe international online pharmacies. If you’re a consumer – especially an American consumer facing high drug costs – you should read this. When you’re done (or even right now!) we recommend joining RxRights to help play a role in making medication more affordable for all Americans.

Next year, we’re planning to focus more attention on local Americans pharmacies: what they’re doing right, wrong, and in between, and how you can save and take advantage of their in-store opportunities to improve your health! But for now, the international online pharmacy report…

The Good

The money Americans could save on brand name drugs by shopping at safe international online pharmacies continued to increase in 2013. In 2011 , we reported potential savings of 80%, then a mind-boggling 85% in 2012, and now 87.6% in 2013! Savings have proliferated because America’s trading partners, such as Australia, Canada, the states of the European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, generally, have kept brand drug prices stable, whereas in America they increased by an estimated 13% last year.

The pricing data referred to above is from our prescription drug price savings research released this past September. In that report we looked at popular prescription drugs that are not always covered by health insurance plans, including new plans offered as a result of Obamacare. An extreme example of savings is on the drug Abilify 10 mg, a medication prescribed for depression; $9,007.08 could be saved annually by purchasing the drug from the lowest-cost online pharmacy verified by compared with a retail pharmacy in New York City.  A more common example of potential annual savings from international pharmacies is the $3,935.28 savings on Spiriva Handihaler 18 mcg. Drug prices are out of control in the U.S., especially for those with no domestic generic alternative, and access to international online pharmacies is as urgent as ever.

It would, of course, be better if Americans could find more reasonable prices on brand name drugs at their local pharmacies.


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RxRights Launches Petition Opposing New Pharmacy Domain

Our friends at RxRights have launched a petition to oppose the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) bid to control .pharmacy (dot pharmacy) – a new Internet domain that should be open to all reputable and safe online pharmacies, not just the ones that drug companies want you to use. Unfortunately, NABP has a history of discouraging Americans from using safe and affordable online pharmacies based in other countries and also taking money from drug companies to operate Internet pharmacy programs. For millions of Americans access to safe international online pharmacies is the only way to afford necessary medication. The bottom line is that NABP wants to block safe international online pharmacy from obtaining a website ending in .pharmacy, which is anti-competitive and anti-consumer. Don’t let them do it!!

Read why an NABP-controlled “.pharmacy” would harm millions of Americans.

Sign the RxRights petition here.

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Opposition Grows to Pharma-Funded Application by NABP for .Pharmacy to ICANN

More public interest and consumer groups are hopping on the bandwagon to defend online access to safe and affordable medication. As we reported a few weeks back, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to administer a generic top level domain called “.Pharmacy” (dot pharmacy). NABP proposes to block all online pharmacies that fill orders internationally to Americans from obtaining a website that ends in .Pharmacy, including ones that are safe and approved by  NABP’s critics, identified below, view its application as an effort to curtail consumer purchases of lower cost medicine from outside the United States. One of their main concerns is  that  NABP’s application is funded by Merck and Eli Lilly – big pharma: a situation prone to major conflicts of interest.

To read more about this issue see our press release.

This NABP/ICANN issue can be very confusing so I offer the following explanation.  ICANN is a non-profit organization that governs the world wide web system of domain names, such as .com, .org., and .edu. For a long time the available suffixes, called generic top-level domains (gTLDs)  that could be used for website names have been limited. Last year ICANN opened up a process by which companies and organizations could apply to act as registry – administrators – for new names, such as .career, .casino, .charity, etc.  In theory, this could open up new opportunities for innovation and development over the Internet. However, a pharma-funded initiative to make the rules and govern the Internet in an area as critical as the distribution of prescription medication will serve only to protect business interests to the detriment of consumers.

David Moon from Demand Progress, an Internet freedom group and lead organization in battling the Stop Online Piracy Act, sums it up perfectly: “From our direct experience with NABP and its allies in Internet policy disputes, there is ample cause to believe the applicant seeks to control .pharmacy to the detriment of free speech & access to safe and affordable medication for consumers.”

Here is a list of the groups and people who have voiced opposition and concern about NABP’s application for .Pharmacy:

Canadian International Pharmacy Association (Tim Smith, President)

Demand Progress (David Moon, Program Director)

Knowledge Ecology International – KEI (James Love, Director)

Mature Voices Minnesota (Robert E. Hines, Board Chair) (Tod Cooperman,  MD, President and Gabriel Levitt, Vice President)

Public Citizen (Peter Maybarduk, JD, Global Access to Medicines Program Director)

Ram Kamath, PharmD (, Director of Pharmacy Policy and International Verifications). (Lee Graczyk, Lead Organizer) (Daniel Hines)

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