Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sanders, Cummings Introduce Comprehensive Legislation to Lower Soaring Drug Prices


WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) today introduced legislation to address skyrocketing increases in prescription drug prices.  

Americans, who already pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world, saw prices jump more than 12 percent last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

That increase was more than double the rise in overall medical costs. Nearly one in five Americans did not fill a prescription last year because they could not afford it.

“Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt if they get sick. People should not have to go without the medication they need just because their elected officials aren’t willing to challenge the drug and health care industry lobby,” Sanders said. 

The pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $230 million on lobbying last year, some $65 million more than any other industry, and employed over 1,400 registered lobbyists. 

 “In light of 1,000 percent price increases – and more – American families are fed up with trying to afford their medications as they watch drug companies rake in record profits,” Ranking Member Cummings said. 

“This commonsense and comprehensive bill will reverse this alarming trend, help put people before profits, and make lifesaving drugs more affordable and accessible to millions of Americans families.” 

The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015 authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to bring down costs for Medicare drug benefits. 

The bill also includes tougher penalties for drug companies that commit fraud and bans the practice of brand name drugmakers paying competitors to keep lower-priced generic substitutes off the market. The bill also lowers barriers to the importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada.

“We should use our buying power to get better deals for the American people. Other countries do it and so should we,” Sanders said.

The Senate bill is cosponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). The legislation is supported by the Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Center for Health Research, Public Citizen, Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, and RxRights, representing the voices of millions of Americans.

Click here to read the bill.
Click here to read the fact sheet on the bill.
Click here to read Sen. Sanders’ prepared remarks. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Publisher of Blog on High Drug Costs calls for adoption of American Rx Bill of Rights into party platforms

Daniel Hines, publisher of RxforAmericanHealth urges support of American Rx Bill of Rights
...rising costs of medicines will lead to unwelcome consequences in terms of increased price of medicines that will act as a major driver of medical costs overall...
— Daniel Hines
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, USA, September 3, 2015 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The publisher of RxforAmericanHealth has called for both the Democrats and Republicans to address the issue the impact of rising prescription drug costs by incorporating into their Party platforms an American Rx Bill of Rights.
Daniel Hines says that rising costs of medicines will lead to unwelcome consequences in terms of increased price of medicines that will act as a major driver of medical costs overall and force many Americans to forego needed medical care.
He also points to the potential for abuse of Congressional intent with the announcement schedule for September 30, 2015 of the rules regarding Section 708, that could lead to the seizure and destruction of safe, authentic personally brand-name medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies subject to oversight and regulation equal to or exceeding that of US agencies.


“We have called for a Congressional Caucus to use the reservoir of good will and support of many members of Congress to protect against such abuse,” Hines notes. 


“Now, it is also time to articulate the issues caused by the pricing practices of Pharma that can threaten the ability of Americans to enjoy the health benefits offered by access to a regimen of safe, authentic medicines.

“That is why as we listed the Articles of the Rx Bill of Rights, we included an explanation of each article,” he explains.


The Articles are: 

A basic right to good health; An unaffordable medicine is unavailable; Citizens must have rights as stakeholders in debate and discussions of health policy centered on pharmaceutical costs equal to that of Pharma; The rights of Americans to due process in the protection of their rights and ability to make valid medical decisions must be protected; It is in the public interest to recognize the significant contributors to the development of research and development costs of new medicines through their tax dollars in support of grants to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, as such, should be protected from unfair or questionable patent protection granted to Pharma that fails to recognize the rights of American citizens; the FDA should enter into reciprocal agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) in recognition of its many agreements already in place with authorities in other countries to help ensure a safe and easily validate source of medications for Americans.

Hines cited the following explanations of the Articles:


Article One (A Basic Right to Good Health)
The impact of millions of Americans being denied the health benefits of access to a regimen of safe, affordable medicines because of cost is a national health issue that has yet-to-be-recognized consequences. 
(That is why the ability of American Citizens to make health care decisions in concert with their physicians such as the purchase of personally imported safe, affordable prescription medicines should not be hampered by any actions by government or private entities as a policy to restrict Americans' access to authentic medicines. )


Article Two (An Unaffordable Medicine is Unavailable)
A prescription medicine that is unaffordable is unavailable, thereby meeting the 'rules' of the FDA that such a medicine that is otherwise unavailable is indeed eligible to be personally imported by an American patient.
(Arbitrary denial by the FDA to such access is detrimental to the health of the patient by denying him or her access to vital maintenance medicines. This is a violation of the purpose of the FDA which is ostensibly designed to protect the health and well-being of American citizens.)


Article Three (Citizens as Stakeholders)
It is incumbent upon Congress that it act to ensure that ordinary American citizens whose health and finances are adversely affected by Pharma pricing practices, advocacy groups other than those of Pharma, are given a 'stakeholder' status equal to that of Pharma.
(The relationship between the FDA, elected officials, and Pharma has led to numerous abuses, access by Pharma to legislators and other elected officials based on the contribution of millions of dollars, favored status for Pharma representatives and their front groups as the primary representative at public hearings to determine the health care policy for Federal, State and Local Governments, thereby skewering the decision-making process.)


Article Four (Due Process)
Americans who purchase safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards meet or exceed those of the U.S., are the legitimate owners of their authentic medicines and are entitled to exercise their due process rights to have their personal property free from undue and unjustified seizure oar destruction by any governmental agency unless the seizing authority can demonstrate via established judicial processes and to courts that such seizures are of bogus, counterfeit or unsafe prescription medicines.


Article Five (Public Interest)
Americans are significant contributors to the development of research and development costs of new medicines through their tax dollars in support of grants to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, as such, should be protected from unfair or questionable patent protection granted to Pharma that fails to recognize the rights of American citizens. 
(Abuses in pricing, illegal business activities, or undue influence upon policy-making by the FDA or elected officials should result in a reduction of the patent protection afforded Pharma to the detriment of untold numbers of Americans who must be able to pay what Pharma believes the traffic will bear.)


Article Six (Reciprocity)
The FDA should extend reciprocity to other Tier One countries in the interests of the health of American citizens. 
(The majority of brand name prescription medicines sold to Americans is manufactured at plants outside the U.S., under FDA supervision, or at plants licensed by Pharma members to produce medicines under a license granted by a particular company, a validation that medicines produced outside the U.S. and sold in this country are indeed capable of being safe. Also, the FDA has entered into agreements with regulatory agencies in many countries to assume the task of overseeing ingredients manufacture of ingredients

Daniel Hines
RxforAmericanHealth
636-399-2849
email us here

Why High Drug Prices require an Rx Bill of Rights for Americans


Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the first Presidential candidate to announce that, if elected, he will introduce legislation that will reduce prescription medicine prices.  

One leg of his three-legged stool deals with the rights of Americans to have access to safe, affordable brand-name prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries of whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the USA.  The other two legs of the platform deal with abuses of the regulatory process by Pharma, acting in collusion with FDA.  

We applaud Senator Sanders for his leadership.  He has been a long-standing advocate of the detrimental impact upon the health care system of the US created by the comfortable relationship between Pharma and the FDA, and the predatory pricing practices of Pharma that have made the US a 'safe haven' for its charging what the traffic will bear for medicines. 

It is time for an American Rx Bill of Rights that confers the right of participation in vital health decisions for Americans. Following are the first six articles of such an Rx Bill of Rights, based upon the most pertinent issues affecting prescription drug costs. 


Article One (A Basic Right to Good Health)
The impact of millions of Americans being denied the health benefits of access to a regimen of safe, affordable medicines because of cost is a national health issue that has yet-to-be-recognized consequences.  

(That is why the ability of American Citizens to make health care decisions in concert with their physicians such as the purchase of personally imported safe, affordable prescription medicines should not be hampered by any actions by government or private entities as a policy to restrict Americans' access to  authentic medicines. )

Article  Two (An Unaffordable Medicine is Unavailable)
A prescription medicine that is unaffordable is unavailable, thereby meeting the 'rules' of the FDA that such a medicine that is otherwise unavailable is indeed eligible to be personally imported by an American patient, 

(Arbitrary denial by the FDA to such access is detrimental to the health of the patient  by denying him or her access to vital maintenance medicines.This is a violation of the purpose of the FDA which is ostensibly designed to protect the health and well-being of American citizens.)

Article Three (Citizens as Stakeholders)
It is incumbent upon Congress that it act to ensure that ordinary American citizens whose health and finances are adversely affected by Pharma pricing practices, advocacy groups other than those of Pharma, are given a 'stakeholder'status equal to that of Pharma.

(The relationship between the FDA, elected officials, and Pharma has led to numerous abuses, access by Pharma to legislators and other elected officials based on the contribution of millions of dollars, favored status for Pharma representatives and their front groups as the primary representative at public hearings to determine the health care policy for Federal, State and Local Governments, thereby skewering the decision-making process.)

Article Four (Due Process)
Americans who purchase safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards meet or exceed those of the U.S., are the legitimate owners of their authentic medicines and are entitled to exercise their due process rights to have their personal property free from undue and unjustified seizure oar destruction by any governmental agency unless the seizing authority can demonstrate via established judicial processes and to courts that such seizures are of bogus, counterfeit or unsafe prescription medicines.

Article Five (Public Interest)
Americans are significant contributors to the development of research and development costs of new medicines through their tax dollars in support of grants to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, as such, should be protected from unfair or questionable patent protection granted to Pharma that fails to recognize the rights of American citizens. 

(Abuses in pricing, illegal business activities, or undue influence upon policy-making by the FDA or elected officials should result in a reduction of the patent protection afforded Pharma to the detriment of untold numbers of Americans who must be able to pay what Pharma believes the traffic will bear.)

Article Six (Reciprocity)
The FDA should extend reciprocity to other Tier One countries in the interests of the health of American citizens. 

(The majority of brand name prescription medicines sold to Americans is manufactured at plants outside the U.S., under FDA supervision, or at plants licensed by Pharma members to produce medicines under a license granted by a particular company, a validation that medicines produced outside the U.S. and sold in this country are indeed capable of being safe.  Also, the FDA has entered into agreements with regulatory agencies in many countries to assume the task of overseeing ingredients manufacture of ingredients for brand name medicines.  Added to that is that many countries (excluding the U.S and the FDA) have reciprocal agreements (Memorandums of Understanding) that one country will accept the medications produced in another country as safe and authentic.)