The Brussels Principles underscore the importance of the international online marketplace as a lifeline of affordable medication for the millions of people forced to go without necessary treatment due to drug cost and availability.
On March 31st, 2017, Prescription Justice organized a panel for the RightsCon 2017 conference in Brussels, which addressed protecting online access to safe and affordable medication. The organizers of RightsCon just published their outcomes document in which Prescription Justice’s effort to bring together both medicines access and Internet freedom advocates was recognized.
At that conference, the participants discussed a set of draft principles pertaining to medication sales over the Internet and prescription drug importation. The prevailing position among the panelists was that initiatives funded by the pharmaceutical industry that affect access to medicines on the Internet were detrimental to the cause of prescription drug affordability.
Prescription Justice is proud to announce that we have sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, signed by non-profit organizations dedicated to American consumers, patients and families who struggle with the high cost of medication. The letter specifically calls for the passage of the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act of 2017, introduced by Senators Cory Booker, Bob Casey, and Bernie Sanders. The Act would expressly allow importation of lower cost medications from Canada, and, after two years, other countries with strong pharmaceutical regulations. Uniquely, the letter also recognizes that Americans already import medication for personal use, often ordering them from international online pharmacies, regardless of the federal restrictions. That practice can be safe but rogue websites are a threat to patient safety.
The Act would require the FDA to register qualified international pharmacies and identify websites that sell FDA-approved medications directly to consumers from licensed pharmacies; create registration requirements with multiple layers of oversight to permit U.S. pharmacies to import wholesale quantities that could be sold at much lower price; and increase penalties for online pharmacies that knowingly sell counterfeit drugs.
Passing drug importation legislation is just one important step in the right direction to bring an end to the crisis of high drug prices in America.