Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stop Pharma from denying access for Americans to safe, affordable prescriptions


If you agree with this position, write your Congressman or Senator to let them know of your support of the right of Americans to purchase safe, affordable—and vital—medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries.


· Personal Importation of safe, affordable prescription medicines from countries outside the U.S was spurred more than a decade ago as a reaction to the fact that the U.S. has the highest prescription drug prices in the world.

· Personal importation of prescription medicines is the only option available to provide lower-cost brand name medicines for Americans.

· These medicines—from licensed, registered pharmacies in Canada and other countries with standards of oversight that meet or exceed those of the U.S.—have provided health benefits and financial relief to hundreds of thousands of Americans.

· The U.S. Congress has through repeated votes in the House and Senate expressed its support of the concept of making personally imported medicines available to U.S. citizens from pharmacies in Canada and 22 other countries whose standards of oversight for safety and efficacy equal or exceed those of the U.S.

· While a rash of bogus pharmacies and counterfeit medicines has arisen on the Internet, legitimate on-line pharmacies have taken extraordinary steps to distinguish them from bogus pharmacies.

· The pharmaceutical industry and its trade group (PhRMA) have targeted the right of personal importation of prescription medicines, which , ironically, they themselves have manufactured.

· The latest attempt to curtail access to personal importation is to define any online pharmacy from outside the U.S. as ‘bogus’ , even if an online pharmacy has met the standards of safety and efficacy of its practice required by the appropriate regulatory agency of its government.

· Opponents of personal importation have taken steps that indicate they hope to use the anti-counterfeiting intent of S 3804 as a rationale to claim that even licensed, registered pharmacies would be guilty of infringement of Copyright and Intellectual property rights.

· This would make the pharmacy liable to enforcement provisions of S 3804 which include, but are not limited to, the shutting down of domains and websites not only of the pharmacy, but could be extended to the sites of advocacy groups and individuals that support personal importation.

· Because of that, specific legislative language should be included in S 3804 to ensure that the legislation meets its intended purpose, and cannot be co-opted by special interest groups that would utilize the bill to meet their own narrow interests.

· Without the inclusion of language to more carefully define the intent of S 3804, the stage would be set for the pharmaceutical industry to take actions to restrict the right of Americans to enjoy the health benefits provided by safe, vital medicines that they otherwise could not afford.

· We believe that Americans have the right to make personal healthcare decisions including the right to purchase safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies, and that they have the capability to make such informed decisions in a responsible manner, free of governmental interference, and that current efforts to define legitimate pharmacies as bogus is an attempt by the pharmaceutical industry to extend its influence to impose its predatory pricing practices upon American citizens with regard only for industry profits, not the health and well-being of American citizens.

If you agree with this position, write your Congressman or Senator to let them know of your support of the right of Americans to purchase safe, affordable—and vital—medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries. We will be posting email addresses for the new session of Congress in early January 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pharma Interests attack Open Web in attempt to deter importation

Publisher of leading seniors’ web sites urges Congress clarify language of Anti-Counterfeiting proposal to prevent co-opting of Intent by pharmaceutical industry

The publisher of a leading informational site for America’s seniors, says that Congress must clarify the language of S. 3804, which is ostensibly designed to deal with the issue of intellectual property rights and counterfeit products sold in the U.S., to deter attempts by special interest organizations of the Pharmaceutical industry to co-opt the legislation to their own limited purposes and the detriment to health and savings for Americans.

Daniel Hines,. Publisher of www.TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com and http://RxforAmericanhealth.blogspot.com , says that the pharmaceutical industry is attempting to utilize the open-ended language of S.3804 as part of its latest tactics to prevent Americans from utilizing personal importation of vital and safe, affordable prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in countries whose standards meet or exceed those of the U.S. and the FDA.

Additionally, a growing number of legal sources is coming to view the enforcement provisions of S.3804 as an attempt to empower the Federal government to extend its ‘enforcement’ of ‘infringements’ upon intellectual property rights to web sites that the AG believes might contain materials that constitute such an ‘infringement’ by the shutting down of those domains.

“Pharma has long attempted to deny Seniors and other Americans access to these medicines through its extensive lobbying among elected officials and with appointed policy-makers, “ Hines says. “The many health and cost-saving benefits of Americans having the capability to exercise their right to make personal health care decisions through the purchase of safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies from 22 Tier One Countries, are evident and a matter of record.”

The reason for Pharma’s opposition to personal importation—ironically, importation of the very same medicines that they produce under FDA oversight and themselves sell in the U.S. —is that the imported medicines are priced at 40 to 60 percent less that the identical medicine in the U.S., Hines says.

“This record of savings, efficacy and health benefits, has been validated by the U.S. Congress on many votes in favor of personal importation, only to be turned aside because of parliamentary maneuvering of the interests of the pharmaceutical industry with the addition of a ‘personal certification’ requirement of the safety of imported medicines by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). No other Cabinet member is required to make such certification of products that are within their department’s jurisdiction.

Ironically, even though HHS Secretary Sebelius indicated her support of personal importation while Governor of Kansas by announcing the state’s affiliation with the ISaveRx program, the current FDA policy has been to not even consider how a policy favored by the President during his election campaign and the Secretary when she was Kansas Governor might be implemented. Instead, the emphasis has been upon policies supported by Pharma to focus on means of deterring Americans access to legitimate, vital medicines, especially through restrictions on the Internet.

Hines noted that “Pharma has spared no expense to create a series of ‘front groups’ to create the specter of ‘bogus pharmacies’ flooding the country with unsafe prescriptions.

“But it has shown no interest in directing its vast resources to establishing a mechanism and framework that could address the best means of identifying legitimate, licensed pharmacies in Tier One countries and how to distinguish those legitimate on-line pharmacies from bogus operations.

He says that the legislation was approved by the Judiciary Committee during the Lame Duck Session of Congress. “The opportunity still exists for members of the Committee and Congress to allow public comment and hearings that would provide transparency into the deliberative process, thereby ensuring that S 3804 meets its stated purpose rather than rewarding the false claims of Pharma about the safety and efficacy of personal importation of prescription medicines.

“We urge the Committee members and other Senators and members of Congress to pay special attention to ensuring that the language in S.3804 encompasses the real goals of deterring copyright and intellectual property theft, as well as counterfeiting and that there be specific and clearly defined restrictions upon efforts by Pharma’s special interest groups to co-opt the intent of the bill.

“The health interests of large numbers of Americans should be of utmost consideration and Pharma interests must be restricted from utilizing the legislation to attain its long-standing goal of limiting the access of Americans to vital medicines, “ he concluded.