Daniel Hines notes that both the President and the President-elect have expressed their support of a role for personal importation.
“In 2008, then-Candidate Obama pledged to support the personal importation of safe, affordable brand-name prescription medicines from licensed-registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the U.S.,” Hines notes.
“Significantly, President-Elect Trump has called for ‘Removal of barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products,’” Hines notes.
Also, in an interview upon his selection as TIME Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year,’ the President-elect said that his intent remains to “lower prescription drug costs” although he admitted that he still hadn’t decided upon just how to do it.
“In yet another twist in this strangest of Presidential elections, the President-Elect could actually offer President Obama a chance at establishing a favorable part of the Obama legacy—a role in which both men can exhibit the type of bi-partisanship that would reflect favorably upon them, all the while offering millions of Americans price relief from the abusive pricing practices of Pharma by recognition Executive recognition of the rights of Americans to have access to safe, affordable and authentic personally imported medicines,” Hines says.
The key, Hines says, is for President Obama to sign an executive order requested by the Congressional letter to “ explore implementing drug importation rules that are already part of U.S. law. Under authority from the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, the Secretary of Health and Human Services can certify the importation of prescription drugs from other countries under specific qualifications. This regulatory action would pose no risk to public health and safety and could result in a significant reduction in the cost of prescription drugs to American families.”
This should be followed by the President-elect openly declaring his support of the President’s action, accompanied by a vow to let the order stand as a part of his campaign pledge to support personal importation and to explicitly legalize the personal importation of medicine from licensed registered pharmacies in (Tier One) countries whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the U.S.
Hines notes that Candidate-Trump had at one time vowed to rescind every Executive Order issued by President Obama, but since then, President-Elect Trump has softened his stance, saying he would only rescind those that he considered ‘illegal.’
“A cooperative action by the President and the President-elect would enable both men to fulfill stances taken during their respective campaigns to take actions to lower prescription drug prices,’ Hines explains.
He notes that Candidate Obama openly supported establishing a role for Personal Importation of safe, affordable prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the U.S. in 2008, only to abandon his stance under pressure from Pharma to abandon his stance during behind-closed doors meetings leading to the Affordable Care Act, which itself now faces dismantling.
“By issuing the executive order requested in the Congressional letter, the President could ensure a part of his legacy by acting on behalf of millions of Americans who simply cannot afford their medicines. An unaffordable medicine is unavailable in and of itself because of the price, and a medicine that is not taken because it is unavailable is of no value,” he says.
“For the President-elect, cite your campaign pledge to support personal importation, let President Obama know of your support of his issuance of the Executive Order, and that there will be no attempts to set it aside by your Administration,” Hines says.
Hines notes that such action also gives the President-elect a unique opportunity to set a tone for his Administration ensuring that unelected bureaucrats of the Food and Drug Administration are subject to the clearly expressed intent of Congress, not the whims of a particular industry segment.
“That is why we urge the President and the President-elect to take the actions necessary to compel the Secretary of HHS to act , and to do so in a fair and partial manner that reflects that personally imported authentic medicines at potential savings of up to 60 percent are being denied to Americans, or for those who do engage in personal importation of their medicines, their medicines are subject to potential seizure and destruction only because of labeling differences that are required by the countries of origin of the imported medicine. The seizures can take place irrespective of the authenticity of the medicines,” Hines continues.
“Also, for President-Elect Trump, cooperation and support of such an Executive Order will illustrate that he is concerned about the health and well-being of Americans, and that he recognizes that lack of access to affordable medicines is the wind that reaps the whirlwind of Pharma pricing abuses, and consequences of costly, even possibly life-threatening health conditions that could have been avoided,” Hines concludes.
The full Subtitle of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 follows:
Subtitle C: Importation of Prescription Drugs - (Sec. 1121) Directs the Secretary to promulgate regulations permitting pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from Canada into the United States. Sets forth specified provisions respecting: (1) importer and foreign seller recordkeeping and information requirements; (2) qualified laboratory drug testing; (3) registration with the Secretary of Canadian sellers; and (4) approved labeling.
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