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.
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.
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.
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.
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.