Thursday, May 17, 2007

Imported Drugs

"There is a pricing problem with prescription drugs," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), who co-sponsored the amendment with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine). "The identical drug, FDA-approved, the same pill, put in the same bottle, made by the same company, is set virtually every other place in the world at a lower price. And the American consumer is told, 'You know what, we have a special deal for you: You get to pay the highest price in the world.' "

I beg to disagree with the Senator, we don’t have a pricing problem; we have an ethics problem. We have an industry that is too embedded with our legislators and elected officials. The senate voted to add an amendment to an FDA bill to allow for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. The cost savings to consumers is estimated to be around 50 billion dollars over 10 years. One of the major instruments driving seniors and the poor deeper into poverty is the high cost of health care, particularly prescription drugs. I applaud the senate for pursuing this issue even in the face of a veto from the President.

There has been talk about the safety of imported drugs for years, but as the Senator stated these are the same drugs made by the same manufacturers. This fear concerning the safety of these drugs is a smoke screen being concocted by the pharmaceutical industry to keep Americans paying the highest cost for drugs in the world. It is a sad commentary when those who we have elected and sent to Washington to represent us must be coerced into doing what we pay them to do. We should not have to justify saving money to these people, they should be looking for ways for us to save money in every area of our economy. Unfortunately those elected officials and their aides have decided that the large corporations need protection more than the consumers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the pharmaceutical companies have spent in excess of 100 million dollars annually to pay for lobbyist to press their agenda. I can see where they need all the help they can get to protect them from us ungrateful consumers.

Public Citizen has done a report of the unethical goings on between Washington and the big pharmaceutical companies.[1] I would recommend everyone to read this report and see just how much money and influence peddling these companies are doing. It’s no wonder we are paying the highest prescription drug costs in the world.

To show you how we must be living in bizarro land, the war on drugs was supposed to increase the cost of illegal drugs, unfortunately it has had the opposite effect. It has however had the unintended effect of increasing the cost of prescription drugs; can anyone explain this to me?

Unless we begin to take control of our government soon I am afraid democracy will be a concept talked about in history classes. It will no longer be practiced here. This President has already begun to plant the seeds of the “Imperial President” due to 9/11. A President that is no longer accountable to anyone, but his own way of thinking and those of like mind. We must never tire of doing the right thing or be swayed by the propaganda of the wealthy and their apologist.

Our seniors have given a lot to this nation and they deserve our thanks and our support. We must not let them be gouged by the big pharmacy companies, because in the end it is us who will have to pay the bill. They should never have to choose between medicine and food; no American should. If the drug companies don’t want to lower prices, then it is only fair to let our seniors and poor get the medicines they need at the lowest and safest possible cost. This unsafe argument is a red herring; I have yet to hear of any mass deaths in Canada from their prescription drugs. Do they care about their citizens any less than we do? When you live on a fixed income the money saved from the imports can go a long way to allowing you some of the comforts that we take for granted.


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