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.
While the intense focus in Congress last week was the passage of the American Healthcare Act, millions of Americans continue to struggle with the cost of prescription medications. In 2016, 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription because of cost, and a recent poll commissioned by Prescription Justice shows that 75% Americans agree with President Trump that they drug companies are getting away with murder.
Not just individual patients but federal and state governments face an uphill budget battle as well. Public programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veteran's Affairs continue to grapple with dramatic price increases that are crippling their budgets.
Congress has introduced several bills in 2017 to address the crisis of high drug prices. Here’s a summary:
Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (HR 1776/S. 771)
On March 29, S. 771, The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (Act), was introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and fifteen Democratic co-sponsors. A companion bill (HR 1776) was also introduced in the House by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) with four Democratic co-sponsors.
Prescription Justice’s president, Gabriel Levitt, organized a dynamic panel session to discuss the importance of online access to safe and affordable medicines at the RightsCon conference last month in Brussels, Belgium. Created and organized by Access Now, since 2011, RightsCon has become one of the world’s leading events covering the implications of the Internet on society. This past conference, it’s largest ever, brought together 1500 people from 100 countries, including human rights experts and activists, business leaders, technologists, engineers, investors, activists and government representatives; most who are there to promote an open Internet and digital rights globally. (more…)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Public Health Grand Rounds – recently hosted a webinar on “Overcoming Barriers to Medication Adherence for Chronic Diseases.”The event brought together a panel of leaders in pharmacy, nursing, medicine, academia, and public health to discuss the burden of medication nonadherence and barriers for adherence among patients with chronic diseases—including HIV/AIDS.
Medication nonadherence manifests in two distinct behaviors: intentional, such as choosing to forgo filling a prescription because of cost, or unintentional, where patients simply forget to take their medication or are unable to manage multiple medications or complex treatment regimens. The panelists highlighted how intervention strategies aimed at medication adherence can positively affect patient health outcomes. (more…)