The publisher of a leading informational website for America’s Seniors says that Congress must clarify the language of The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) which is ostensibly designed to deal with the issue of the theft of U.S. intellectual property rights and counterfeit products sold in the U.S., to deter attempts by the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma) to co-opt the legislation for its own limited purposes
Daniel Hines, publisher of www.TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com and http://RxforAmericanHealth.blogspot.com says that Pharma is attempting to utilize the ambiguous definition of ‘counterfeit’ as it applies to brand-name prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries as a new tactic to prevent Americans from utilizing personal importation of vital prescription medicines.
The Committee is holding a hearing Thursday, February 16, featuring representatives of Visa, Verizon, GoDaddy.com, Authors Guild and Rosetta Stone.
"Pharma has long attempted to deny access to safe, affordable medicines from Tier One Countries through its extensive lobbying among elected officials and with appointed /policy-makers, “ Hines says. “Now, it is attempting to co-opt the intent of The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.
“This is unacceptable to those who believe Americans should be able to exercise their right to make personal health care decisions, including the purchase of safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies from Tier One Countries, whose standards of oversight for safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the U.S."
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, and to go so far as to attempt to falsely include legitimate pharmacies from Tier One Countries.
"But it has shown no interest in directing its vast resources to establishing the mechanism and framework which could address the best means of distinguishing 'rogue pharmacies' from legitimate, licensed pharmacies in Tier One countries.
“The reason for Pharma's opposition to personal importation-ironically, importation of the very medicines that they produce under FDA oversight-is that the imported medicines are priced at 40 to 80 percent less that the identical medicine in the U.S., Hines says. “These tremendous savings provide access to safe, affordable medicines that enhance the health and well-being of large numbers of Americans.
"We urge the Committee members and other Senators and members of Congress to pay special attention to ensuring that the language in The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act encompasses the real goals of deterring copyright and intellectual property theft, by clarifying the intent of the use of the term ‘counterfeit’, and that there be specific and clearly defined restrictions upon efforts by special interest groups to co-opt the intent of the bill."
"The health interests of large numbers of Americans receive 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.