Wednesday, August 31, 2016
RxforAmericanHealth Publisher: Time for Action to Lower Prescription Prices, Stop Pharma Abuses
I am writing in my capacity as the publisher of the TodaysSeniorsNetwork blog sites that include TodaysSeniorsNetwork, RxforAmericanHealth, and AmericanRxBillofRights.
I applaud your efforts in calling for investigations into the outrageous pricing practices of Mylan’s EpiPen Auto-Injector.
Hopefully, this or some series of the many investigations that have occurred as a result of public outrage over not just this instance, but a of pattern of Pharma pricing abuses, will somehow finally lead to true reform.
However, it is undeniable that Pharma has a philosophy of charging what the traffic will bear, irrespective of how many investigations are launched. Regrettably, the investigations have a familiar outcome: A group of ‘experts’ testify, questions are asked, statements made, and within weeks, Pharma once again not merely raises prices, but does so to such a level as to threaten the very health and well-being of Americans.
The major problem is that, as in the old country saying, the horse is out of the barn by the time the investigations are held, and investigations in and of themselves are brushed aside by Pharma, which continues with its abusive pricing practices.
The EpiPen price increases also illustrate the willingness of Pharma to attack the most vulnerable members of our society. Its long-standing opposition to Personal Importation became and remains a major issue even with Part D passage as an attack upon America’s Elderly. At a press conference after a Pfizer Board meeting, then CEO Henry McKinnell commenting on remarks by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said that efforts to lower prescription prices were nothing more than “a Prairie Fire that breaks about every four years as an election issue and then burns out.’’
Those comments underlie the attitude that Pharma practices today, more than a decade later. It acts, Congress reacts, hearings are held, statements issued—and we all brace for Pharma’s next abuse.
The EpiPen price increases were an attack upon the parents and children of America, and those others for whom allergies are not merely a ‘seasonal’ nuisance, but actually potentially life-threatening conditions.
Because of that, rather than merely attempting to find out why or how such predatory pricing occurs, it is time for Congress to take action to introduce and pass comprehensive legislation that will make prescription medicines readily available and affordable for the literally millions of Americans that are denied access to the health benefits possible only through access to a regiment of such safe, effective and affordable medicines.
It is time to face the truth: irrespective of the potential health benefits from a medicine, an unaffordable medicine is unavailable in and of itself because of its price, and a medicine that is not available and is not taken, is ‘ineffective.’
With that in mind, I am including the articles of the RxBillofRights with this letter. It includes a series of proposals, many of which you have supported. It is time for a new approach which will have a synergistic favorable impact upon availability, access, price and health benefits.
For the record, I am a long-time supporter of and communications consultant of the personal importation of safe, affordable brand-name medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the US.
I support immediate favorable action by Congress to allow personal importation as a part of the comprehensive strategy of the AmericanRxBillofRights, since even with investigations, study groups being formed, and the reliance upon generics (which have also undergone outrageous price increases), personal importation offers the only immediate relief to millions of Americans who simply cannot afford their medicines.
The EpiPen issue illustrates that personal importation is the only immediate relief for Pharma pricing practices is, even with the questionable ‘staging’ of the introduction of price reduction certificates and a ‘new’ generic EpiPen, the cost of Epi Pen from Canada is still as much as two-thirds less that the exact authentic product in the U.S.
This and other examples of the benefits of access to safe, authentic medicines show why it is time to take a new approach towards drug pricing legislation that offer solutions to the challenges to Americans’ health and well-being from pricing abuses of Pharma.
Thank you for your consideration of this letter. I look forward to your response, and the opportunity to share it with the many visitors to our sites.