Archive for December, 2017

Fake News In The Pharma-Political Landscape

Posted by on December 31st, 2017

“Fake news” used to mean the type of stuff you’d see on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or in The Onion or, for Canadians, on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It meant news that was obviously and deliberately fake; usually satire intended to make a point or just to make people laugh. But the term “fake news” has taken on a new meaning in the internet age. It’s become a term associated with the deliberate spread of misinformation, downright lies, and hoaxes through traditional, generally trusted, media sources. People are generally unable to distinguish fake from real news. Most people don’t take the time to fact check the people who are supposed to be the fact checkers. The six o’clock news used to be factual gospel, now people question the political leanings of the reporters, jumping on any grammatical choice that they disagree with as proof the news is biased one way or the other.

Fake news is now a part of the pharmaceutical political landscape too. For years the pharmaceutical lobby has engaged in a fake news campaign against legitimate online mail order pharmacies. They have told politicians, the media and Americans that all online or non-US pharmacies are rogues that can’t be trusted. They have accused legitimate online pharmacies with contributing to the opioid problem in the US. They have accused legitimate online pharmacies with supplying substandard or fake medications. For properly credentialed and certified online pharmacies none of this is true. But big pharma’s lobbyists don’t distinguish between bad actors and good actors. They lump everyone together in the bad actor category. Why do they do this? It’s because you cannot put together a cogent, watertight argument against credentialed, certified online pharmacies. For example, pharmacies certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) have a 100% safety record. Work done by Roger Bate, a visiting scholar at the conservative leaning American Enterprise Institute, supports the safety of credentialed online pharmacies. Here are a few examples of his work:

Catch 22: Credentialed online pharmacies are so safe that peer review literature is no longer interested in results showing it

New Paper: The Risks and Benefits of the Online Pharmacy Market

Trump, drug prices, and drug quality

What Bate’s work shows is that credentialed online pharmacies, like Canada Drugs, are safe and provide high quality prescription medications. This research, based on empirical testing and factual analysis, runs in stark contrast to the narrative pushed by big pharma. Big pharma’s story is that online pharmacies based outside the US, no matter their policies, oversight, or credentials are illegitimate. They smear them all as suppliers of substandard, adulterated, fake, or illegal drugs. Their broad-brush approach lacks credibility, factual analysis and any sort of truth. In fact it is the very definition of fake news.

We fully agree rogue online pharmacies exist. However they are easily distinguishable from legitimate sites. Legitimate pharmacies require prescriptions from licensed practitioners. They do not, under any circumstances, sell controlled medications like opioids. Legitimate pharmacies are credentialed by groups like CIPA or PharmacyChecker. Illegitimate pharmacies do not require prescriptions (they might even offer you one). They do not have credentials (though they may steal badges from legitimate sites), and they sell opioids and other controlled medications. As with everything, do your due diligence. Canada Drugs has been around for close to 20 years and has a proven track record.

The fake news spread by the pharma lobby about online pharmacies is not funny or obviously fake. It doesn’t have a point except to force people to keep buy very expensive drugs in the US. It is intended to scare people away from an option that could save them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year. Fake news is a big problem in many ways, but the biggest is that people get wrong and/or misleading information and they then use that information to inform their actions, not knowing they’ve been misled. It’s wrong and should stop particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

If you’d like to push for freer access to the personal importation of prescription drugs, and fight back against the “fake news” spread by big pharma’s lobbyists, you can check out the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI).

Personal Importation Is Safe, 20 Years & Several Studies Prove It

Posted by on December 29th, 2017

After nearly 20 years of personal importation of prescription drugs it’s rational to ask a few questions; what are the results? Has the practice discredited itself? Is there any evidence that the practice is dangerous? Are people being helped or hurt? These are important questions. The personal importation of prescription drugs was not an industry created by Canada or any other country or any particular person, it was created by big pharma.

International pharmacies like Canada Drugs largely didn’t exist 20 years ago. There was no need for  them because US drug prices were reasonable and affordable. However the lure of big profits turned big pharma from focusing on patients to focusing on patents and big pay days. It was sudden, unexplained, arbitrary price hikes that created the international pharmacy market. Of course big pharma didn’t like the development of international pharmacies so they used their power and money to put roadblocks in our way.

Big pharma has prevented the FDA, or some other agency, from working to certify international pharmacies for US customers. It fell to the international pharmacy industry to come up with certification systems that provide a high degree of safety and certainty for patients. In this the industry has been extremely successful. An independent group called CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) certifies Canadian international pharmacies. They have a 100% safety record for pharmacies certified by them (Canada Drugs is one of them). is an independent US-based certification group that inspects and certifies online pharmacies within and outside the US (Canada Drugs is a certified pharmacy by too).

Done properly personal importation is not dangerous at all. As long as people are ordering their medications through properly licensed & certified pharmacies which require prescriptions for prescription drugs there are no issues with quality or safety. The problem comes in when people seek drugs they should not have like illegal narcotics, or when people want a drug that their doctor won’t prescribe to them, like Viagra, Cialis, steroids, or painkillers. People will look to shady parts of the internet where they can buy these products without a prescription. Websites selling without proper oversight, certifications and licenses are likely to sell fake, substandard or adulterated drugs. In this case it is extremely unsafe.

Academic research demonstrates the safety of certified online pharmacies. Extensive work done by Roger Bate, of the American Enterprise Institute, shows the safety of legitimate online pharmacies. His research shows that credentialed domestic and foreign online pharmacies in general sell high quality products.  People are not being hurt by personal importation, they are being helped. They are receiving high quality, safe prescription drugs so long as they order their products from credentialed and licensed sites.

If people were being hurt on a continuous basis by personal importation there would be uproars and the international pharmacy industry wouldn’t last very long. No one would buy from international pharmacies if all they did was sell adulterated, unsafe products. It’s simple market economics. On the contrary millions of Americans have found price relief by ordering from online pharmacies.

Despite having 20 years to do so, the pharmaceutical industry has failed to prove there is a substantial threat from certified, licensed international pharmacies.  There is a paucity of evidence on their side. Now they will go and point to the opioid epidemic and the flood of fentanyl coming into the US from China and blame the international pharmacy industry for that. First it’s important to remember that the opioid epidemic has been determined to have started by the poor prescribing practices by thousands of physicians all over the US, and the successful marketing tactics of pharmaceutical companies. Fentanyl is indeed flowing into the US to feed the opioid epidemic, however, it isn’t beings supplied by licensed, certified pharmacies, it is being supplied by labs operating in legal grey areas or plainly on the black market. Legitimate, certified, and licensed pharmacies do not sell fentanyl or any opioid or controlled drug.

Personal importation has permitted millions of Americans to afford their prescription drugs. It is due to the existence of this industry that people do not have to choose between food, rent, clothes or medications. Big pharma has failed to prove any major threat to Americans from it. Instead they and their allies have taken to smearing every online pharmacy with the same brush; calling all of them potentially rogues.

Counties, Towns & Cities Save Money Ordering Rx Drugs From Canada

Posted by on December 27th, 2017

On and off for the last 30 years or so, state and local governments have turned to buying prescription drugs from Canada to offset their healthcare costs. According to an article in the Washington Post several counties around the US are still doing that. Flagler County, Florida is expecting to save $200,000 on brand medications for it employees in 2017. Despite the opposition of the FDA the savings more than offset any headaches caused by regulatory issues. The most surprising and perhaps encouraging part of the article came from a quote by the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), one of the biggest opponents to personal importation, “If cities and counties have done their due diligence to ensure their employees are getting drugs from reputable sources, then there is nothing wrong with it…If cities and counties have done their due diligence to ensure their employees are getting drugs from reputable sources, then there is nothing wrong with it.”

That’s a big shift from other positions which opposed personal importation entirely. But it is clear people are starting to realize big pharma’s propaganda is wrong on this issue. After all if the NABP is willing to agree local governments can seek lower drug costs using Canadian pharmacies, why not allow this for individuals as well? There are cracks in the anti-importation wall. After all, in terms of the overall US drug supply importation is alive and well. About 70% of the top 40 brand name drugs are imported into the US.

According to the AARP prescription drug relief is much needed; it notes that in 2015 the average yearly cost for one prescription drug was close to $13000. This is a big chunk of income or many seniors. Importation is a way for seniors to offset those costs and retain more of their limited incomes for other costs. But this isn’t just a senior’s issue. This is an issue for taxpayers, who pay for the cost of drugs for municipal employees and therefore it’s an issue for everyone. Luckily for taxpayers in the counties using Canadian pharmacies for their employees’ prescription drugs they’re saving a lot of money.

Does The Revolving Door Between Congress & Industry Keep Importation Closed?

Posted by on December 21st, 2017

The revolving door between congress and the lobbying industry is well known. Former congressional representatives from both the House of Representatives and Senate have made lucrative secondary careers as lobbyists or special advisors to a variety of firms and industries. According there are currently 434 former members of congress who are now high level lobbyists. At first glance, it’s a natural fit for them. They have the ability to connect people who want input into government decisions with the people who make those decisions. However, there is a less seemly side to it as well. It cements the ability of large, rich firms to promote their own interests via the back door while the rest of us are stuck trying to be heard up front.

The revolving door doesn’t stop with former members of congress; it extends to their staffs as well. Hundreds of congressional staffers move between lobbyists and congress. For many of them their jobs depend on their party holding power or their congressional boss being re-elected. The ability to shift to more stable and steady work in the private sector while keeping close connections to the political sphere is important for them. It helps them keep on top of the latest developments in their fields and even return to congress should the opportunity present itself.

The problem is that the revolving door makes it very difficult when change needs to happen. The people who are pushing against personal importation of prescription drugs might move from a lobbying firm to congress, or move the opposite way. This reinforces the status quo and prevents new ideas and new blood from suggesting changes. People who have worked for pharmaceutical companies are not likely to approve or push for the personal importation of prescription drugs.

The revolving door is one of the backbones of Washington’s political system. But for patients it’s a system that traps them in the cycle of super high drug prices. The revolving door prevents new ideas from getting the hearing they need. The personal importation of prescription drugs is an idea that is constantly beaten back by the revolving door elites. The only way to beat it that is for people to stand up and tell their congressional representatives they want personal importation opened up to everyone. You can do this by joining the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation.

Survey Shows Americans See Personal Importation As A Safe Practice

Posted by on December 19th, 2017

An important survey has been released by the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation. Conducted between August 14 and October 12 the survey asked a variety of questions about personal importation. One of the most telling takeaways is this, “Ninety-eight percent of survey respondents would recommend ordering prescription medications from an online pharmacy in Canada to their family and friends because they believe it is a safe option.” …Hum it kind of knocks big pharma’s claim that Canadian pharmacies are unsafe on its head.

Now if you believe that 2794 people would recommend a dangerous practice to their own family and friends, you can ignore this stat and go back to believing big pharma. The majority (79%) of survey respondents also said the primary reason they use online pharmacies in Canada is cost. If you consider the fact that 79% of the respondents had insurance of some sort (Medicare, Employer-provided, or self-insured), there’s clearly a wide gap between what insurance is and what it needs to be. People still need to use online pharmacies to control their costs.

Another interesting finding from the survey is the fact that 26% of the respondents learned about ordering prescription drugs online from a doctor or pharmacist! This isn’t news to us here at Canada Drugs. We’ve heard from many patients that their doctor recommended looking into our services when discussing drug costs. We even have medical doctors as patients. Medical professionals whose patients use our services know how beneficial and safe they are. Pharmacists are recommending us as well. Pharmacists are often the unwilling face of pharma’s high prices. They are bound by legal agreements to do all within reason to make sure you don’t pay the lowest price, but rather pay the price demanded by insurance companies and PBMs. Cash prices can be much lower in many cases, but they are only allowed to tell you if you ask directly. In a normal retail situation, they would be able to tell you right away what the best price is for a particular drug.

This isn’t fair to pharmacists. They are medical professionals who should have the freedom to do what is in the best medical and financial interests of their patients. It isn’t fair to patients either. Patients can be denied important information for no other reason than pharma wants a higher profit. Can you imagine a doctor agreeing only to prescribe one type of treatment for an illness when there are options available? It’s ridiculous. Yet this is the situation many pharmacists find themselves in.

If you would like to view the results of this survey in its entirety, click the link below:

Survey: Importation From Canada Provides A Safe And Affordable Solution For Accessing Prescription Medications

You should also take the opportunity to join the campaign and add your voice to the debate.