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…)
Morning Consult, a nonpartisan digital media and research company, has published an op-ed, The RX Rip-off, by Prescription Justice’s Executive Director, Jodi Dart. The op-ed highlights Prescription Justice’s recent poll by Zogby analytics that reveals roughly 79 percent of Americans believe prescription drug prices are too high, and nearly 52 percent believe that pharmaceutical companies engage in price gouging and put profits over patients. The poll also shows that overwhelming majorities support changes that will bring down drug prices, which comes hard on the heels of new Prescription Justice analysis showing 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription last year due to cost.
Ms. Dart writes that there are concrete steps that members of Congress and the Trump administration should take to help the millions of Americans who struggle with the high cost of prescription medications. These include allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers to lower prices, ending pay to delay to increase access to generic drugs and importing less expensive drugs from other countries, and, finally, making personal drug importation legal. Ms. Dart also emphasizes that President Trump could immediately help Americans through executive actions to expressly permit the safe use of international online pharmacies on which orders are placed to import medication for personal use.