RxRights Year in Review 2015

RxRights has been working to promote and protect your access to affordable medicine for more than 5 years. Each year, we review our progress, reflect back on lessons learned, and look forward to the future.

We have long warned that unaffordable drug prices amount to a public health crisis in America. Up until this past year, it’s been hard to get much media attention. But in 2015, we hit a turning point; the public outcry about drug price hikes was unprecedented even before Martin Shkreli raised the price of a medication his company acquired 5,455 percent overnight. But that action became a rallying cry of sorts. We are heartened to see drug pricing gain traction as a pivotal issue in the eyes of the public and press as well as some legislators and Presidential candidates.

Thanks for speaking up and for sticking with us! Each person who supports us gives us strength and motivation to keep fighting for the cause. Here’s a sampling of what we accomplished together in 2015.

RxRights worked with various members Congress to suggest language for legislation to legalize personal drug importation in 2015. We initiated a number of consumer actions to support importation and fair drug pricing. We updated our consumer resources for saving on prescription drugs and tips on how to find a safe online pharmacy as well as our infographic/fact sheet. We signed on to Access Our Medicine’s declaration that everyone should have access to affordable medicine

We enlisted your participation in actions to protect and ensure access to affordable medicine.

Media Attention

Lee Graczyk was quoted in a story America’s favorite illegal Canadian import? Prescription Drugs.

Editorial by Lee Graczyk appeared in The Hill’s Congress Blog: Drug importation not as dangerous as unaffordable medicine.

Bloomberg article, Drugs Show Sharp Price Hikes in Shadow Market, came out about diabetes drug prices. RxRights worked with the reporter to provide personal stories.

ABC News article, With Generic Prescription Drug Prices Surging, Families Are Feeling the Squeeze, featured one of our advocates, Patricia Salese.

TV Asahi, one of Japan’s national TV networks, is working on a story to illustrate the dire situation many Americans face due to exorbitant drug pricing. We connected them with several of our supporters who were willing to tell their stories.

RxRights was referenced in a blog post about drug prices on Bring Me the News.

Live Tweeted during the Senate Committee on Aging hearing on #drugprices. Senator McCaskill retweeted one of our tweets to 111K followers.

Consumer Engagement

Polled our members regarding whether they agree with President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices

Took part in a panel discussion about the problem of exorbitant drug prices in St. Paul organized by Senator Amy Klobuchar. Several RxRights advocates attended, told their stories, and spoke their opinions.

Reached out to our advocates at the request of the Senate HELP Committee and solicited consumer stories. We provided 77 stories, which will be used to build the case for the need for affordable medicine.

Maine’s law to permit personal drug importation (the first of its kind in the nation) was overturned by a federal judge who said the nationwide ban on importation superseded state statute. We initiated an action for Maine advocates to contact Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and urge her to appeal the decision.

Public Policy & Legislation

RxRights worked with members Congress to suggest language for legislation to legalize personal drug importation in 2015. We worked with Representative Keith Ellison on language for the Personal Drug Importation Act of 2015 (H.R. 2623).

Senator Bernie Sanders’ office asked us to sign on to support (along with organizations such as Public Citizen and Alliance for Retired Americans) The Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act (S. 1364/H.R. 2391).

Lee went to DC to speak at a National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) conference and gave a speech about RxRights and S. 122, Senator John McCain and Amy Klobuchar’s legislation on importation. While there, he met with a number of legislative staffers as well as staff from ICANN and AARP.

What’s coming up in 2016?

We continue to wait to see how the final rule regarding Section 708 of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (which will dictate how the process of seizure and destruction of imported drugs) will play out. We don’t expect many confiscations in an election year. But if you (or someone you know) have any trouble obtaining imported drugs, please let us know.

As usual, we’ll continue to keep you apprised of threats to your access to affordable medicine in the year ahead. We’ll respond when appropriate and request your help in doing so. Stay tuned!

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