Archive for November, 2016

The Election’s Over, Now What? Part 2: Here Comes the Spin

Posted by on November 29th, 2016

Media interview - large group of journalists interviewing VIP
As drug prices skyrocket and insurers pass the cost to patients, those patients are looking for relief somewhere. Unable to rely on drug companies to charge reasonable prices and less able to rely on insurance companies to cover their needs at an affordable price, the people have taken the issue into their own hands through initiatives like Proposition 61. Yet they face major opposition from the pharmaceutical industry which uses its massive resources to fight these attempts. Concrete action by congress and the president in favor of personal importation would give Americans a real, effective, safe alternative.

The pharmaceutical industry will soon step up its lobbying efforts. As promised earlier this year they will devote millions of dollars to lobbying and ad campaigns in 2017 to push forward their message that high prices are needed to fund their research efforts and to portray the pharmaceutical industry in a positive light. They’re beefing up their war chest too. PhRMA, the industry lobby group, raised their membership dues 50% to increase their annual budget to more than $300 million/year. The fight from a money point of view is one-sided, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be won. Patients are always the ones who get caught in the middle and always end up paying more, and it’s time for that to change. They need to demand action from Congress and the new president.

The biggest protection you have against the spin of the big pharmaceutical lobby is education. Keep in mind, when you see these ads, they are intended to polish the pharmaceutical industry’s tarnished image. They want to drown out the discontent over prices by showing they absolutely need the money. That’s an argument that’s in doubt. Pharmaceutical companies routinely spend more money on marketing than they do and research and development; further, pumping millions more into their industry lobby demonstrates money can’t be very tight.

According to a Harvard-STAT poll from 2015 the public’s perception of how well the pharmaceutical industry is serving people has dropped markedly, 79% of the American public said the industry is doing a good job in 1997, that dropped to 49% in 2015. Ultimately the public has to decide if PhRMA’s message is true but anger over high drug prices suggests the pharmaceutical industry faces an uphill battle.


What is a Parallel Import?

Posted by on November 23rd, 2016

FAQ or Frequently asked questions words on yellow road sign with blurred background
Many of the products we sell are shipped from the United Kingdom. At some point you may have been told that the product you are going to receive is a parallel import obtained from the European Union and approved for sale in the UK. Many patients have questions about what that means. Simply put a parallel import is a good that has been produced legitimately for one market and is then imported into another without the consent of the patent holder or license holder in the receiving market. It is a common trade practice in the European Union and forms a part of its single market economy.

Patients who receive these medications may be concerned by the differences between the product they receive and what they would normally get at their local pharmacy. The major differences may be:

Packaging

There may be a different color scheme on the box than what you’re used to. The language on the box will not be English but the language of the European country the product was obtained from.

Labelling

When products are imported into the United Kingdom from another European country; they are not labelled in English. A new label is required to clearly identify the product. A label printed in English will be placed over the non-English wording and English instructions will be inserted into the packages. This is normal pharmaceutical practice in the United Kingdom.

Appearance

The appearance of the tablet or pill may be different than what you would get in North America; it may be a different shape and color. A tablet that is white in the US may be purple in Europe. A round tablet in the US may be triangular in Europe. In some cases patent restrictions in different countries require pharmaceutical companies color or shape their tablets differently than a competitor. This does not affect safety, quality, or efficacy.

Other than these cosmetic differences, the active ingredient in the medication is the same as it would be if the medication would be bought at your local pharmacy. Most importantly, the medication must still meet the same safety standards as any other medication in the UK.

European courts have taken a positive view towards parallel imports. Parallel importation helps facilitate the principles and operation of an open common market. The ability to take advantage of parallel imports has given Canada Drugs the capability to offer high quality prescription drugs from the United Kingdom at very affordable prices. We hope this has helped answer any questions about parallel imports and how they relate to our products.


The Election’s Over, Now What? Part 1: More Work To Do

Posted by on November 22nd, 2016

Older man with prescription medications, horizontalThe 2016 US Presidential Election is behind us and, no matter how you view the results or who you support, the results are historic. In the bright lights and noise of the presidential election some issues got lost in the fog and didn’t get the time they deserved. Healthcare is one of those. The one big exception was a ballot measure dealing with prescription drugs in California.

Proposition 61 would have prohibited the state from purchasing prescription drugs at a rate that exceeded the lowest price paid by the Veterans’ Administration. This proposition turned into a very acrimonious fight between proponents and big pharma. The pharmaceutical industry spent in excess of $109 million on a campaign attempting to defeat the measure, nearly seven times the amount spent by its supporters. It was the most expensive ballot measure in a year that saw total spending on ballot measures pass $470 million. It ultimately went down in defeat.

Proposition 61 is one among many measures that have been put forward on the ballot, in statehouses, and congress, to rein in excessive drug prices. Americans pay the highest prices for prescription drugs of any country in the world. They are feeling the pinch. American pocket books are being hit from all sides; insurance premiums are increasing, deductibles are going up, and “affordable” care is becoming less affordable. Prescription drugs aren’t entirely to blame but they’re a big part of the equation. Both presidential candidates put forward plans to deal with healthcare costs; and both Hillary Clinton and President-Elect Trump have supported one initiative that could provide immediate relief more quickly than anything else, the personal importation of prescription drugs.

It is encouraging that a candidate who openly supports personal prescription importation has been elected to the White House; whether the new administration will follow through with that pledge remains to be seen. This is where the voice of Americans becomes so important. Just because the election is over does not mean the call for change can stop. The nearly 50% of Americans who take at least one prescription drug each day need to continue demanding price relief. Opening up personal importation is the fastest and most effective way to make that happen. You can do your part by contacting the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation telling your story and adding your name to the hundreds and thousands who are calling for change. They can also help you contact your congressional representatives. Let them and the incoming president know that this issue is important to you and your family.


Canada Drugs Honored at MECCA Awards

Posted by on November 18th, 2016
jeff-and-antonio

Jeff Hildebrand and Antonio Jose receive their MECCA Awards

Every year the Manitoba Customer Contact Association holds its Manitoba Excellence in Contact Center Achievement (MECCA) Awards.  These awards recognize the best people and organizations in the Manitoba call center industry.  This was an opportunity for Canada Drugs to honor a couple of its best employees:

Representative of the Year:  Antonio Jose

Known as one of the most dependable agents on the floor, Antonio is also the first choice when we are looking for mentors for new hires. He is the go-to agent regarding our live chat program and he gives feedback and suggestions to make processes more effective. That, and those colourful shoes……

Supervisor of the Year:  Jeff Hildebrand

Jeff is constructive and fair in his coaching style. This is not surprising considering his great sense of humor and being very approachable. He is known for keeping his composure during the hectic times, which can be even more hectic for him as he supervises a multi-disciplinary team.

Congratulations, Antonio and Jeff!

In addition, Canada Drugs was honored in winning 2 awards:

Performance Management:

Canada Drugs won this award based on a multitude of factors, including:

  • Transition program for agents moving from new-hire training.
  • Coaching that focuses on behaviors rather than metrics.
  • Strong coaching process.
  • Rewards and recognition program.
  • Career progression opportunities for employees

Employee Satisfaction:

Based on a survey of employees, Canada Drugs was recognized for:

  • Employees enjoy a great relationship with their supervisors.
  • They believe they have the authority and resources to do their job well.
  • Comments include, “Friendly, inviting environment”, “Awesome team”, “Positive place to work”.

We are very proud of these achievements.  We are dedicated to serving our patients and we believe our supporting our employees is the best way to get there.  To quote Richard Branson, if you take care of your employees they will take care of your customers.


Travelling With Prescription Drugs

Posted by on November 15th, 2016

Commercial airliner in flight over a cloud covered background.
With the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season upon us, one question keeps coming up:  how does a person travel with their prescription drugs? It’s a practical question; and with the help of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) we’ll try to demystify the process and get you on your way.

The TSA in the US and CATSA in Canada enforce security measures for airlines and airports. A quick run down of their tips are below.

  • Pack extra medicine and supplies when traveling in case you are away from home longer than you expect or there are travel delays.
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions in your carry-on, purse, or wallet when you travel.
  • Keep your medications in your carry-on bag. Prescriptions must be in their original pharmacy container labeled with the name of the passenger. Be sure that the name is the same as on your ticket. Don’t combine your medications into one bottle; take each type of medication in its own labeled bottle. Place all medications in a plastic bag for ease during security screening.
  • If taking injectable medications (e.g., Fuzeon, insulin, testosterone) you must have the medication with you in order to carry empty syringes.
  • Do not remove syringes or medicines from the original packaging. Packaging is a good way to help airport security identify your medicines. Opening packages or taking pills out of their prescription bottles will delay your time in security.
  • Show copies of your prescriptions and/or your medication bottles you have in your carry-on when you present to airport security. If you have any problems ask to see a supervisor.
  • Arrive 2 to 3 hours before your flight so you are not rushed when passing through security.
  • In some cases, the airline may ask the on-board staff to store your medicines and syringes during flight. Keep your medicines, syringes, and supplies together in a carry-on case or travel case. This will make passing them to and from the flight staff easier with less chance of losing medications or supplies.
  • Contact your airline if you need special assistance with transportation or other medical needs prior to boarding. Airlines are still responsible for offering assistance to passengers with extra needs.

If you will be crossing an international boundary declare your medications to airport security and customs officials. Be aware that the FDA usually permits a maximum three month personal supply of medication to be brought with you, Health Canada will usually permit one course of treatment or a 90 day supply, whichever is less.

Patients frequently ask if they can have their medication shipped to a different address when they’re travelling. The answer is mostly yes. Patients who head to winter homes or spend several weeks visiting family during the holiday season can have their orders shipped to their temporary address. Simply clarify your temporary address with your Patient Service Representative when placing your order or refill. We have shipping options available which permit you to track your order well.

Bon Voyage!