In his article for AFRO – “A Growing National Outcry for Lower Prescription Drug Prices” – we were pleased to be noted by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) as a supporter of the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, and one of several organizations, including Public Citizen, Families USA, and Knowledge Ecology International that “speak of millions of Americans.” The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is a candidate for the Democratic Primary.
Rep. Cummings highlights the fact that American public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of legal and regulatory reform to bring down drug prices. His legislation calls for Medicare to negotiate drug prices with drug companies, ending “pay-to-delay” deals, which are often characterized as payoffs from brand to generic drug companies to postpone introducing a lower cost generic, and reforming drug importation laws to expand our access to lower cost medications in other countries.
PharmacyChecker.com is not taking sides in a partisan fashion. Republicans, Democrats, and independents agree on the urgency of tackling drug prices in America. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Charles Grassley (R-IW), and David Vitter (R-LA) have all introduced and sponsored drug importation reform legislation over the past few years that we support. Another example is Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who wrote an op-ed strongly in favor of legal reform of drug importation to help Americans buy lower cost medications from Canada.
The most critical factor is that we move in the right direction towards expanding access to affordable medication, and we salute Congressman Cummings for doing so.
Tagged with: Bernie Sanders, Charles Grassley, Congress, David Vitter, drug importation reform legislation, drugs from canada, Elijah Cummings, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, personal drug importation, Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015
UPDATE: the video showing Senator’s Snowe’s floor remarks is no longer available. Please consult the congressional record for this date to read Senator Snowe’s full remarks.
In support of Senator John McCain’s amendment to facilitate safe personal drug importation from credentialed online pharmacies, Senator Olympia Snowe spoke comprehensively, passionately and honestly about the issue. Though the amendment did not pass, Americans interested in online pharmacies and drug affordability should be aware of some of Ms. Snowe’s most pertinent points in support of personal drug importation. The full senate floor presentation is available for viewing as well.
- “Americans are facing tremendous increases in prescription drug prices for far too long and I think it’s at a point in which Congress should address this issue,” said Senator Snowe. “In 2010 AARP found that retail prices for the most popular brand name drugs increased 41.5% while the consumer price index rose just 13%. In other words the cost of prescription drugs rose more than three times as much as the inflation rate.”
- Senator Snowe wisely reminded her colleagues that most of “America’s” drug products are already manufactured overseas. Senator Snowe points out that the very medications America consumes come from manufacturing facilities in over 50 countries and “not all of those facilities are even inspected….”
- We need a more competitive pharmaceutical market. Senator Snowe points out (by quoting a former Pfizer CEO) that more competition from imported medication will lead to lower prices, higher quality products, and more innovation.
- The amendment is far more modest than previous drug importation bills and only calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make a list of approved online pharmacies for personal drug importation but it would not allow for greater “wholesale” drug importation. PharmacyChecker.com already provides such a list that consumers can freely access. Ironically, while Senator Snowe didn’t mention it, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, actually published such a list when she was governor of Kansas for a state drug importation program.
For those interested in learning more about why personal drug importation should be made more available to Americans please watch Senator Snowe’s floor remarks.
Tagged with: Canadian pharmacies, Food Drug Cosmetic Act, John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Online Pharmacies, PDUFA, personal drug importation
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to the Pharmaceutical Drug User Fee Act authorization bill that would create explicitly legal access to and facilitate safe and affordable medicine from Canadian pharmacies through a government list of online pharmacies. Sen. McCain should be applauded for continuing his efforts on this issue. Unfortunately, the amendment was voted down 43 to 54.
In his floor statements, predicting his amendment’s failure, Senator McCain communicated that too many of our elected representatives are beholden to the pharmaceutical industry. For that reason, we can expect future legislative actions to curb access to safe personal drug imports. Due to FDA’s current regulatory practices, Americans are not prevented from obtaining needed medications from verified international online pharmacies.
CBS News On Online Pharmacies and Drugs Safety
In a recent article, CBS News informs American consumers on critical issues of drug safety. When it comes to ordering prescription drugs online, especially from outside the United States, the article is clear that Americans should only shop from properly credentialed online pharmacies, such as those approved by PharmacyChecker.com.
Americans should take other precautions as well. For instance, you should only take prescription medications prescribed to you from your doctor. Check expiration dates to make sure your prescription product is still effective. Before taking medication, look at it closely for any indication something is not right, including disintegration or discoloration.
Online pharmacies discussed by world leaders at G8 summits
Leaders from the world’s most advanced economies discussed online pharmacies at the recent G8 conference. The topics discussed also included economic growth and development, food and nutrition, and international security. Global health experts criticized the G8’s agreement, as published in the Camp David Declaration, for an over-emphasis on intellectual property protection in its section that mentioned drug safety.
Americans who buy medication safely from properly credentialed international online pharmacies should be concerned about high level talks that address this issue. The pharmaceutical industry’s anti-consumerist positions on intellectual property rights are often overrepresented in such international organizations, and the industry seeks global action to shutdown safe international online pharmacies.
On the other hand, looking at the glass half-full, the Camp David Declaration makes clear that public safety – not intellectual property rights – are the goal in fighting rogue online pharmacies and counterfeit drugs: “To protect public health and consumer safety, we also commit to exchange information on rogue internet pharmacy sites in accordance with national law and share best practices on combating counterfeit medical products.”
We strongly support international actions to thwart the sale of dangerous medications online to protect both American and global patients. In fact, PharmacyChecker.com has been dedicated for almost a decade to evaluating online pharmacies in order to provide information about those that sell safe and affordable medication.
Tagged with: Camp David Declaration, CBS News, FDA, G8, John McCain, Pharmaceutical Drug USer Fee Act