Sunday, January 4, 2009

A pivotal year

Although we have not posted for sometime, the upcoming and much anticipated inauguration of President-elect Obama and a new Congress means that healthcare certainly will become a major national issue and it is time to restore a sense of urgency to activities.

In the 'lapse', much has already been accomplished:
--Advocates of importation of prescription medicines have regrouped and are planning strategies in support of importation, likely under the auspices of a revised Dorgan-Snowe impetus led by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) . The National Council of Consumer Organizations, a part of the National Council on Aging, is leading the effort with respected senior advocacy leaders Peter Wyckoff, the former executive director of the Minnesota Senior Federation, and Paul Severance, founder of United Senior Action of Indiana, as co-chairs.
--The importance of access to prescription medicines as part of a regimen of critical health care is gaining increased attention from media. Reports are that the Associated Press is preparing a feature on the savings that could be provided for seniors if the Obama Administration acts to provide not only price negotiation for prescription medicines, but would support importation to provide even more options for America's elderly and additional competitive pressures that would lower prices.
--Hard-pressed local governments, facing fiscal crises are finding that there are alternatives to layoffs, cutting services or attempting to increase taxes through significant savings. One example is Montgomery County, NY which has saved more than half-a-million dollars since using the services of CanaRx, an internationally based prescription medicine plan developer and administrator offering access to maintenance medicines from Tier One Countries.
--A number of advocates to reduce prescription medicine prices through importation will assemble during the FamiliesUSA annual meeting in Washington, DC January 28-31. At that time, a number of meetings will be held with Congressmen and Congresswomen, and staffers.
--A number of contacts have already been made with staffs and Congressional-Senate offices to evaluate the support for co-sponsorships. With the new Democratic majority, odds of Pharma success in poison-pill provisions regarding certification by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is lessened. Also, former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), selected by the Obama Administration for the Secretary of HHS, has been a suppporter of importation.
--Additionally, a number of contacts has been made with groups that have supported importation and access to safe, affordable prescription medicines in the past, as part of the Coalition building to work for success in the 111th Congress.