We implore the President and Members of Congress to enact legislation and regulations (already on the books!) that would help fix this significant healthcare crisis. President Obama could, with the stroke of a pen, alleviate Americans' prescription drug costs by allowing individuals to import health maintenance prescriptions from Canada, using licensed, legitimate pharmacies.
Continued increases in the cost of medications in the U.S. are a threat to the health of seniors and low-income individuals, and risk further burdening our health care system and American taxpayers who often foot the bill.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) noted that the amount the U.S. spent on pharmaceuticals per capita in 2011 was $985 per person, or more than twice than the $483 average for OECD countries. Further, spending on medications in the U.S. has reached an all-time high; in 2014 alone at a level of $374 billion according to an article from USA Today.
Consumer Reports found that some Americans take risks with needed drugs due to high costs. For example, one-third of those surveyed reported taking steps to curb high medication costs; this percentage was higher (57%) for those without a prescription benefit. Skipping filling prescriptions, altering doses, or cutting pills in half (non-adherence) drives up the cost of care not only for individuals who skip medications, but for everyone when individuals are back in the hospital unnecessarily.
These are only a few examples of the hardships Americans – particularly seniors, retirees, and others on fixed incomes – face.
We implore the President and Members of Congress to enact legislation – currently before Congress and previously introduced by a bipartisan set of Members of Congress – that would help fix this significant health care crisis.
We believe strongly in a program that establishes criteria for American consumers to safely import basic health maintenance prescriptions from Canada by:
1) allowing consumers to purchase, with a valid prescription, a 90-day supply of prescription health maintenance drugs;
2) requiring medications be dispensed by a licensed Canadian pharmacist;
3) requiring prescriptions available for purchase have the same active ingredient(s), route of administration, and dosage form and strength as an FDA-approved drug; and
4) not permitting certain types of drugs including controlled substances and biologics be imported under this program.
It is immoral and untenable that nearly a quarter of all Americans skipped medications or didn’t fill them because of the high cost. These exorbitant prices and excessive annual increases burden seniors, retirees, and low-income Americans – and thus strain our Medicare and Medicaid systems because of non-adherence to drug regimens, which leads to unnecessary – and avoidable – re-hospitalizations. Even a 2012 Congressional Budget Office report noted that access to affordable drugs resulted in reduced medication non-adherence.
Please help Americans who desperately need safe, affordable health maintenance drugs to be able to import them from a reliable partner in Canada.