Founder of Prescription Justice, Gabriel Levitt, submitted a public comment to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the role of personal importation and online access to safe and affordable medicine in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All is a joint initiative led by twelve global health and development organizations under the auspices of the WHO. The signatory agencies of the Global Action Plan invited submission of comments through a public process to inform the final draft of the Global Action Plan, which will be presented during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.
Mr. Levitt's comment below underscores the importance of online access to lower cost medications through safe international online pharmacies as a vital lifeline, especially for the tens of millions of Americans who struggle each year to pay for their medications.
In its April 2019 piece entitled “Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices,“ the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal showcases several of the flawed arguments and propaganda techniques employed by the big pharma lobby to undermine the fair, safe and pragmatic practice of importing prescription drugs from Canada. Fortunately, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers weren’t swayed, and have passed a new law to create a state-based drug importation program.
Prescription Justice applauds this decisive action – and the similar laws passed in Vermont and Colorado. We firmly believe that importation is a critical piece of the puzzle to ending the crisis of high drug prices in America. Other states weighing the option should take note.
High drug prices affect Americans from all states, regions, and walks of life. Importation has immense bi-partisan support as a solution to the crisis of high drug prices: 76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats – 80% overall – support importation from Canada. The state drug importation laws require cooperation from the federal government, and the Trump administration has voiced strong support for Florida’s new law. As we await federal approval of the new Florida plan, and as other states follow suit, Prescription Justice offers the following points of view in response to the WSJ Editorial Board and other opponents of drug importation plans. (more…)
“Pursuant to the evidence and reasons given above, I believe my testimony overcomes the FDA’s public health justifications for refusing my medication order and ask that you release it to me. If you don’t then my health may be jeopardized because I can’t afford it locally.” Letter from a patient to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whose arthritis medicine was detained, and subject to refusal by the FDA.
Each year, a few million Americans import lower cost medicines because the prices are lower, despite the federal restrictions. Most such orders are received, at least when patients have valid prescriptions, but the FDA has the authority to refuse and destroy them. Originally, Prescription Justice was founded to help Americans produce letters of testimony to the FDA if their personal use medication imports were refused. While our scope has increased to include advocacy on drug prices more generally, we remain concerned about unnecessary refusal and destruction of prescription imports by the FDA. (more…)
A group of over 50 healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses and physician assistants, have come together to demand the federal government stop any action that would restrict access to lifesaving medications through personal prescription importation.
In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, members of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the healthcare providers expressed their alarm over FDA’s action in Florida against offices that primarily serve older Americans who prefer in-person assistance with purchasing medications from Canada and other countries, rather than using an internet site. Last year, FDA agents armed with search warrants notified the office owners that importing drugs is illegal and those who help “administer” such drugs could face fines or jail time. Yet, according to its owners, these offices do not dispense or administer medication to patients. (more…)
Prescription Justice recently joined with nine other health, social justice and consumer advocacy organizations to launch a petition to demand Congress act to bring relief to the millions of Americans who can't afford the prescription drugs they need.
The online petition largely echoes the Prescription Justice policy platform which prioritizes ending the ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices, making pay-for-delay deals illegal, and permitting wider access to lower-cost, imported medication through legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms. (more…)
As we leave 2017 behind, the crisis of high prescription drug prices continues to threaten the health and well-being of Americans who struggle to access life-saving medications. Millions of Americans are forced to choose between taking the medicine they need, paying the rent or buying food for their families; tens of millions don't take prescribed medication; and federal and state budgets are overwhelmed. At Prescription Justice, we are dedicated solely to putting an end to this devastating crisis.
Over the past year, we have concentrated our efforts and resources on advocating for regulatory and legislative reforms and commonsense policies to lower domestic drug prices and expand access to lower cost medication from pharmacies in other countries. (more…)
Recently, The Hill featured the Op-Ed, A tale of two drug bills — one proposed bill will worsen the drug prices crisis, by Gabriel Levitt, President of Prescription Justice. Mr. Levitt’s Op-Ed provides an insightful look at legislation targeting two distinct public health problems, but only one has the capacity to inflict further devastation from the public health crisis that is high drug prices.
The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act of 2017 (STOP Act), introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R- OH) aims to stop the flow of the highly addictive synthetic opioid fentanyl from coming into the U.S. by requiring the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to obtain information about packages coming from foreign sources. Unlike private carriers such as UPS and FedEx, the USPS does not currently require advanced electronic customs data from much of the mail received at its International Mail centers.
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.
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…)