Kaiser Poll Show Support for Personal Imporatation

Kaiser Poll Show Support for Personal Imporatation

Friday, June 13, 2008

Senator Brown gets to point...drug companies use cheaper foreign, unsafe materials to save money

In what is a delightful piece of irony, United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has taken action that has to cause anyone who has followed the campaign of false charges, misdirection and scare tactics by pharma and its allies against access by Americans to safe, affordable prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies outside the United States to recognize that pharma has been caught in a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

For years, proponents of such access have battled to arm the American public with the facts--that pharmacies in other countries must meet rigid standards that meet and often exceed those of the oversight in the U.S. Added to this is the fact that these reputable pharmacies and services exhibit the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

Still, in an attempt to protect its predatory pricing practices, the pharmaceutical industry has conducted a vicious campaign enlisting allies as diverse as a bus-riding Grandma Green who has toured the country in a John Madden-style bus to spread the pharma gospel of fear and mis-statements by college professors such as Dr. Marv Shepherd, who heads up something called the Pharmacoeconomic Studies Center at the University of Texas, but who resorts to subterfuge when called out about their pharma industry links and support, building a speaking career talking about 'counterfeit' medicines via the Internet.

Added to this is the disregard for traditional journalistic standards of media that misuse standards of free speech, hiding behind their right to make inaccurate charges, and then claim a special privilege of protection from having to report factually and accurately. One of the more recent examples is the totally false charges made by an investigative team of WISH-TV in Indianapolis against CanaRx Services, Inc., a leading international pharmacy benefits manager based in Canada. Even though CanaRx has created additional oversight practices to guarantee the safety and efficacy of prescription medicines purchased through voluntary programs with employees of local governments and has generated millions of dollars in savings for hard-pressed local governments, an 'investigative' reporter made unfounded charges of 'counterfeit drugs' in her report. When faced with demands--even the opportunity--to rectify its mistake and to correct a statement that the reporter had attempted to give CanaRx the opportunity to respond, the station instead chose to hide behind Indiana law designed supposedly to promote free discussion and debate, rather than meeting its resposibility to set the record straight.

And therein lies the basis of what makes Senator Brown's letter to Pfizer so special. It is the first time that anyone has called out the web that pharma has spun. The Senator is calling for an investigation based on earlier Pfizer testimony that it outsources 17 percent of its pharmaceutical manufacturing and acknowledgement by the FDA of the pharma trend of outsourcing to avoid drug safety regulations.

What a spectacle! Pfizer, the largest drug company in the world that has spent untold millions of dollars to prevent Americans from purchasing prescription medicines claiming concerns about safety, is using substandard ingredients to avoid oversight. Remember, we're not talking about just the manufacturing of the majority of prescription medicnes outside the U.S. (Lipitor is from Ireland,, for example), but a conscious decision by Pfizer--and others--to cut corners with no regard for the safety and efficacy of its products.

There's an old saying that when you point a finger at someone, you have three pointing back at yourself. Pfizer proves that it's still true.

Let's hope Senator Brown's call for an investigation is heeded. As part of that process, it would be appropriate to expand the scope to look at the pattern of abuse of the truth by pharma and its allies against the legitimate operations of a host of legitimate pharmacies and businesses that have dedicated themselves to providing Amerians with access to safe, affordable prescription medicines only to be victimized by reckless and false charges about their adherence to the highest standards of safety, all the while providing vast numbers of individual Americans, groups and local governments relief from the highest drug prices in the world.

To read Senator Brown's letter, click here.
Posted by Daniel Hines, publisher, TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com
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