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Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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HHS Sebelius Keeps Quiet About Her Drug Importation Program As Governor

Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), chaired a panel at the African American Museum in Philadelphia last week to discuss problems of access to affordable healthcare, which included the problem of drug costs in America. It’s noteworthy that Secretary Sebelius conspicuously did not mention that as governor of Kansas she adopted a drug importation program through which residents of Kansas had online access to verified and low-cost international pharmacies.

During the panel discussions, a retired pastor, Delores McCabe, brought focus to the high cost of prescription medication. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

 There has got to be something we can do above the Affordable Care Act that does something about an industry that is immoral,” [McCabe] said, drawing applause from the crowd. “It is immoral and unethical to charge people to stay alive.

In her response, Sebelius urged McCabe and the others to voice their opinions to their elected officials. She mentioned that strides have been taken to bring down costs during her time with the Obama administration, such as plugging the Medicare drug plan doughnut hold with 50% discounts and the passage of the Affordable Care Act through which more Americans will have healthcare insurance (and therefore lower drug costs). She also mentioned that as Governor of Kansas she was able to negotiate drug prices for Medicaid but that such negotiations for Medicare are illegal under federal law.

We wonder, however, why she omitted the fact that as governor she authorized the creation of a state website so Kansas residents could access verified international pharmacies offering safe and affordable prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. Apparently, what was once politically popular, helping Americans personally import safe and affordable prescription medication, appears less so. Unfortunately, its lack of political popularity has probably resulted in fewer Americans getting the medication they need. Hopefully this election season will shine a bright light on the plight of Americans and their inability to afford medication in the United States and all the effective solutions to the problem, politically popular or not.

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Ex-Governor Blagojevich, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Lessons Learned by the I-Save Rx Personal Drug Importation Program

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 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…)

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