Opinion Letter by Frederick Stephen
Americans are struggling to afford the highest drug prices in the world. Now, at the behest of Big Pharma front groups Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the DRUGS Act, a bill that would rob millions of Americans like me of critical daily medicines.
I depend on online Canadian pharmacies to afford my medication, which costs two or three times as much at U.S. pharmacies. If the DRUGS Act passes, the medications and savings that I get through online Canadian pharmacies will no longer be accessible to me and millions of other Americans.
The Big Pharma special interests supporting the DRUGS Act claim that the bill would address illegal sales of opioids online; however, the bill fails to even mention the words opioids or fentanyl. Instead, the bill targets “non-domestic” pharmacies — international pharmacies that millions of Americans depend on for safe and affordable drugs. Safe, licensed international pharmacies require valid prescriptions and don’t sell controlled substances.
The Big Pharma groups backing the DRUGS Act habitually and shamelessly exploit the opioid crisis to attack prescription importation. What is most appalling, one endorser took $1 million from Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive opioid painkiller OxyContin. The special interests endorsing this legislation include Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), and National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). These organizations are funded by the biggest pharmaceutical companies — AstraZenca, Merck, Pfizer, and others, even opioid drug, OxyContin, producer Purdue.
Americans like me are in critical need of access to affordable prescription drugs, now more than ever. Our representatives and senators should say no to the DRUGS Act.