Seniors can take care of
themselves when it comes
to choosing safe prescriptions from Canada,
all our 'protectors'--Butt Out!
by Daniel Hines
Recently, a friend of mine who is a
retired Caterpillar Tractor Co. employee showed me a flyer put out by some
"When NAFTA was passed, it was great for
"When GATT was passed, it was the capitalistic system winning on the world
"When we lose jobs to off-shore imports, it's the free enterprise system at
"When we order prescription drugs from Canada, it's unfair competition to
the drug companies"...or so they claim.
Now, realizing the hypocrisy of their
claims, the drug companies are enlisting allies in a new diversionary
tactic. Companies that have acted illegally in the market place, often
'buying ' market share, policy-makers that cry for individual responsibility
and freedom of choice without governmental interference, and others who have
not minded overcharging seniors for years, imperiling their well-being,
suddenly are concerned about the ability of seniors to make intelligent
decisions in purchasing prescriptions from Canada.
The solution: Protect seniors by
restricting the use of the internet as a purchasing tool. After all,
these people claim, the seniors just don't know enough to make a proper
Never mind that all the reputable
companies--such as Universal Drug Store with whom America's
Seniors/TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com is proud to have formed an
association--demand medical records, written and verifiable prescriptions
from verifiable physicians, and, as in the case of Universal Drug Store, even offer
personal one-on-one consultation.
The first example we saw of this was in
the wake of the failed Emergency Room policy for Medicaid. When public
pressure forced the Bush Administration to revoke its withdrawal of such
funding, the FDA immediately launched an attack on Canadian pharmacies,
noting their concern about the "safety" of these low-cost, high-quality
pharmaceuticals. Now, Members of the Oversight and
Investigations Subcommittee of the Congressional Energy and Commerce
Committee --that's right the ENERGY and Commerce Committee--has heard
testimony from a generic drug manufacturer who is also decrying the fact
that seniors are 'forced' to purchase their prescriptions at tremendous
savings over the Internet in what the company mistakenly says is an illegal
Of course, Congressman Peter Deustch of Florida just happens to serve on the
Subcommittee and just happens to have Andrx, a manufacturer of generic
drugs, in his district.
And, while he is rightfully proud to have
the company in his district, he--and the company--have an obligation to deal
with facts. A few suggestions follow:
1. Generic drugs are good, we agree.
There should be more of them and at low cost, good value conditions.
2. However, the president of the company, who is a PhD and should know
better, needs to realize that it is not illegal to purchase prescriptions
over the internet.
3. And, if those perfectly legal, safe, and effective prescriptions
are available in either their brand name or a lower-cost generic substitute
that is lower than the U.S.-made generic, so much the better for seniors.
That's really free enterprise.
4. By purchasing from a reputable firm, seniors have as much--perhaps
even more--assurance of safety and purity. Canada is not some
third-world nation where prescriptions are prepared in a shanty. And,
if anyone has followed the case of the Kansas City pharmacist who watered
down medications for cancer patients, it is obvious that the U.S.
pharmaceutical industry, which generally has high standards, can also have
some fingers pointed at it.
5. Andrx would be better served to work on the real issue--the
availability of low-cost prescriptions, available in an open and competitive
market to benefit seniors. Universal Drug Store and others offer such a benefit to
seniors and to suggest otherwise is misleading.