Earlier this month, the state of Florida (population: 21 million) passed a law that seeks to enable the importation of drugs from Canada (population: 37 million). The goal is to carve out some way for Florida residents to take advantage of the lower drug prices that Canadian citizens enjoy. Canada is a “single payer” healthcare country, except for prescription drugs, which are not covered by the Canadian universal public health insurance system. The reason some drugs are cheaper in Canada than they are here in the US is because the government is allowed to negotiate with drug companies to set pricing for their citizens. But in the US, Congress has specifically denied that option for itself, except for Medicare.Continue reading Here We Go Again. Florida Flirts With Opening Door To Counterfeits
It’s hard to imagine why people would actually prefer to buy drugs from internet websites that are obviously not licensed legitimate pharmacies. That is, those that do not require proof of a valid prescription from a legitimate prescriber, and/or do not carry an online pharmacy certification (especially from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, NAPB, VIIPS program). In an earlier essay I said this about people who would buy drugs from these illegitimate sources:
“Most of the criminal activity has moved out of the legitimate supply chain, mostly onto the internet. You know, the internet, where criminals can sell drugs directly to the few consumers who are dumb enough to think that someone will sell them legitimate prescription drugs, but do so illegally by not requiring a prescription. That is, they think that some faceless company would be willing to knowingly break one law, but could then be trusted to provide real pharmaceuticals at below market prices. In the age of the internet, how do you protect people who are that gullible?”
A few weeks after writing that rather disparaging passage I met one of those gullible people Continue reading Some People Actually WANT To Buy Counterfeit Drugs
Every couple of years it seems that someone introduces a bill into the U.S. Congress that would one way or another legalize the reimportation of prescription drugs into the U.S. from other countries. In December of 2009, right around the time that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was being debated intensely Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill to do just that.
You may recall that there was a dustup about how Senator Barack Obama had introduced a similar bill only a few years before that, but now as President, he made a deal with the drug industry that supposedly assured that drug reimportation wouldn’t be added to the Healthcare Reform bill in exchange for the industry supporting the Reform bill. Senator Dorgan’s bill did not pass but Healthcare Reform did (See Dr. Adam Fein’s coverage of the failure of Senator Dorgan’s bill, “Drug Importation: Dead Again”).
The reason I’m thinking about reimportation this week is that I came across an interesting document that was published last week by the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) called “A Risky Proposition: How Opening The U.S. To Foreign Medicines Poses A Risk To Chronically Ill Americans”, a second edition. I’m not sure why it was released now—maybe someone is thinking about introducing another reimportation bill again (I guess it’s not Senator Dorgan anyway!)—but I have an opinion about the topic Continue reading Safe Prescription Drug Reimportation: An Oxymoron