Making the case for personal importation of safe, affordable prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries. Rx for American Health is published by Daniel Hines, an international award-winning communicator with five decades of experience, and the publisher of www.TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com and www.BoomersNewsOnline.com. He also works with progressive senior advocacy groups across the nation to promote the health and well-being of America’s aging population.
Kaiser Poll Show Support for Personal Imporatation
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Publisher of leading websites on aging, prescription drug costs statement to U.S. Senate Subcommittee
The following is a statement submitted as written testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging of the Senate HELP Committee in hearings on November 20, 2014. The statement calls for investigations into the totality of pricing practices of Pharma and the Generic Prescription manufacturers that have helped make the U.S. a 'safe haven' for the highest drug prescription drug prices in the world--all to the detriment of the health and well-being of Americans.
An Appeal for
A New National Strategy to Combat Exorbitant Prescription Medicine Prices in
the United States
Thank you Senator Bernie
Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings, for your leadership on this
important issue, and thank you Committee members for the opportunity to submit
this written testimony for consideration during your hearings on the exorbitant
price increases of generic prescription medicines.
You are to be commended for
calling attention to the important issue of how the high costs of prescription
medicines are a major driver of the country’s continuing healthcare cost crisis.
As publisher of www.TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com and
, I have had the opportunity to work with advocates for lower prescription drug
prices for nearly 14 years.During that
time, we have documented the adverse effects to the health and well-being of
Americans when they are deprived access to the health benefits of a regimen of
vital medicines because they simply cannot afford them
At one time, it was believed
and hoped that low-cost generic medicines would help resolve that problem.Unfortunately, that has not proven to be the
case, as too many generic manufacturers have taken advantage of the tremendous
spike in brand-name medicines by major pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase
the prices of their generics so much that they too are unaffordable.
And, therein, lies the root
of the problem—America is perceived as a ‘safe haven’ for the highest prescription
drug prices in the world. Unfortunately
for Americans, at this time there is no
tactic that will change this.
That is why I and many others
believe it is a time for a more comprehensive approach by Congress to a
national strategy on all issues of prescription medicine costs and access.
No issue stands alone. Events in each segment of prescription
medicine access and pricing are related. Each has impact upon healthcare costs
and the health of Americans.
A prime example of this is
the on-going onslaught by Pharma to deny millions of Americans their right to
access to safe, affordable personally imported brand-name prescription medicines
from licensed registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards of safety
and efficacy meet or exceed those of the United States, and do so at prices as
much as 60 percent less than those available in the U.S.
For the sake of transparency,
I must note that I have acted as a consultant to a number of companies in
Canada who provide services to allow Americans access to purchase their
medicines from such sources, as well as working with many Seniors’ advocacy
groups on this issue.
Based on that first-hand
experience, I encourage you to expand the scope of your investigation to
examine what many advocates for personal importation of prescription medicines
believe to be a comprehensive strategy by Pharma to guarantee that the U.S. is not
only a ‘safe haven’ for its predatory pricing practices, as noted in the link
to this blog from RxFor AmericanHealth. (http://rxforamericanhealth.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-perfect-stormpharmas-agenda-to-make.html),
but to greatly reduce the options to Americans to purchase low-cost medicines,
if Pharma is successful.
While at first glance, this
might seem to be beyond the scope of this hearing, the fact is that if Pharma
is successful in its approach to restricting personal importation, and, if the
rapid rise in generics continues, the American public will have nowhere to turn
to purchase affordable medicines.
Towards this end, Pharma’s
strategy includes a variety of initiatives against personal importation of
medicines.These include, but are not
amendments imposed on the HHS Secretary to deter legislation allowing personal
importation passed by the Senate;
the FDA and Customs to seize safe, personally imported prescription medicines,
and torequire the individuals ordering
the prescriptions to sign an ‘admission’ that they knowingly participated in an
illegal act and that they would not continue to do so (fortunately, when this
was called to the attention of the Senate, a bi-partisan effortin 2007 forbade the continuation of the
·This did not discourage
Pharma, which followed up with attempts to limit the freedom of the Internet by
legislation such as Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPPA) and Stop Online
Pharmacy Act (SOPA), both of which were fortunately turned aside;
·PhRMA, the trade
group for the Pharmaceutical Industry, recently joined in a law suit in Maine
to overturn the will of the citizens of Maine whose legislature passed
legislation to facilitate the purchase by the State’s citizens of brand-name
prescription medicines from Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, but the
court ruled that PhRMA had no standing and removed them from the suit, which is
still awaiting a final outcome;
·Most recently, the
Country is in a position to witness a governmental agency ostensibly designed
to protect the health and well-being of Americans (the FDA) actually destroying
authentic brand-name medicines under Section 708 of the misnamed Food and Drug
Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) simply because the labels,
which meet the requirements of the Tier One Country of Origin, are, according
to the FDA, ‘mislabeled’;
·Calls by PhRMA
counsel for criminal actions against individuals personally importing their
medicines, made in a statement in support of Section 708.
In closing, I applaud your
continued concern in addressing the adverse impact of high prescription medicine
prices upon Americans’ fiscal and physical health and well-being.I urge you to enlarge the scope of this
hearing to include the totality of the strategies employed by those who would
limit access to vital medicines, leading to inevitable undesirable outcomes for
the health of the American public.