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October 2019 - Newsletter #3

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Secret Payments, Celebrity Cops and More: Big Pharma Exposed, Again!

A front group for Big Pharma co-opted law enforcement into a two-year campaign to fear-monger Americans about prescription drug importation using secret payments, celebrity cops and ghost-written articles, says Bloomberg News, one of the largest media organizations in the world.

Bloomberg News has exposed in-depth how the pharmaceutical industry funded organization, the Partnership for Safe Medicines, paid off the National Sheriffs Association and others to be their proxies for the purported dangers of prescription drug importation in their anti-importation campaign of commercials and editorials. It turns out that the National Sheriffs Association took big money from Big Pharma at a time when it was suffering financial problems. The commercials state that the ads are paid for by the National Sheriffs Association, but in fact, the Partnership for Safe Medicines “secretly paid for” the ads. It appears that the Partnership for Safe Medicines believed their message would seem more credible if it came from members of the law enforcement community rather than the pharmaceutical industry which has long opposed lower cost prescription drug importation on what have been criticized as dubious grounds.

Bloomberg News states, the “Partnership for Safe Medicines has spent its expanded budget in ways that resemble Big Pharma’s traditional playbook: It relies on allies with top-notch reputations. In some cases, it has given money to groups like the sheriffs’ organization, which then put their own names on anti-importation ads. Meanwhile, public-relations firms with ties to the PhRMA-backed nonprofit have ghost-written articles about the issue, recruited law-enforcement officers to sign their names to them and then pitched them to newspapers around the country.”

These types of shady scare tactics come as no surprise to many. In 2018, we wrote about another anti-importation TV ad sponsored by Partnership for Safe Medicines that was also roundly criticized. In April 2019, we highlighted another Partnership for Safe Medicines ad which NBC News declared as “mostly false”. Some may even recall Big Pharma’s attempt more than a decade ago to convince Americans that ordering lower cost medications from abroad could make them victims of terrorists. How the drug industry funds “experts” to discredit lower drug prices is nothing new but it really seems like Big Pharma will pay vast sums of money to its proxies to say just about anything - no matter how preposterous - in order to scare Americans into paying more for their prescription drugs. Even celebrity cops, Javier Pena and Steve Murphy from the hit series Narcos, are getting in on the action according to Bloomberg News.

Yet Michael Law, an associate professor in the school of population and public health at the University of British Columbia, Canada, told Bloomberg News that, “[t]he safety arguments are, quite frankly, ridiculous“ and “[p]eople aren't dying in the streets of Canada from unsafe medications.“ The world’s leading researcher on the safety of personal use drug importation through online pharmacies, Dr. Roger Bate, seems to agree. It’s unfortunate the Bloomberg News article didn’t mention it but after chemically testing and analyzing hundreds and hundreds of drugs ordered online for over a decade and publishing his results in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, the American Enterprise Institute scholar states that his latest report is just one more piece of ”a growing body of evidence … [that] demonstrates that foreign pharmacies credentialed by independent groups sell safe medicines.” (One of the independent credentialing groups he cites is the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which has certified Dr. Bate’s latest report also comments on the schemes employed by organizations like the Partnership for Safe Medicines:

Instead of engaging in serious discussion, pharma companies and myriad industry-funded groups have scared Americans into believing that drugs from overseas pharmacies are inherently dangerous. Their tactic is simple: Focus on the thousands of rogue websites selling danger­ous medicines and dramatize the dangers, do not differentiate between the credentialed Canadian pharmacies and rogue sellers, claim that only Amer­ican pharmacies sell safe medicines, and do not tell anyone that somewhere between a quarter and a half of medicines sold in the US are imported.

Word about Dr. Bate’s findings may be getting out. A retired commander from the Phoenix Police Department, Tim Hampton was reportedly “lured … in” to participate in the Partnership for Safe Medicines’ scare-mongering ad campaign. He now tells Bloomberg News, "I should have done some more homework … [y]ou can’t trust these guys in the pharma industry as far as you can throw them."

With more than 2 million prescriptions filled, CIPA and IPABC certification and 350,000+ stellar customer reviews, we at prefer to trust the genuine feedback from our customers instead.

Please Help Shape Policy Around Prescription Drug Importation!

As a part of their continued efforts to fight for access to safe and affordable medications for Americans, the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) has launched its third annual survey to collect data about the attitudes and experiences of Americans who import their medications. It only takes a few minutes and your feedback is critical to help share the realities of safe and affordable personal prescription importation with Congressional leaders and other decision-makers. To share your experience by completing the survey, click here.

CPPI is a national non-profit patient advocacy organization that fights for Americans' access to safe and affordable personal prescription medications. Sign up to receive regular updates on matters related to prescription drug importation or to read the personal stories of others, just like you, who rely on importation of affordable prescription medications.

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