An Imminent Threat to Continued Safe Importation from Canadian and International Pharmacies

Pending legislation in Congress and recent White House initiatives threaten Americans’ access to safe and affordable medications. If legitimate Canadian and international pharmacies are not protected, the health of millions of Americans could be put at risk.

When campaigning to become President, Obama supported reimportation. But in 2009, desperate to deliver healthcare reform, he made a deal with Big Pharma in which he flip flopped on reimportation. For the past two years, the White House has been working to cut off American access to online pharmacies, including legitimate Canadian and international pharmacies. At RxRights, we’ve been following this shift with growing concern. It is time to get involved to protect your rights, and the rights of those who need access to safe and affordable medicine. Time is running out!

RxRights has sounded the alarm on two real and imminent threats to continued access to safe importation.

Threat #1: PROTECT IP ACT

The White House caused us great concern last year when they supported a law (COICA) last year that could shut down international pharmacy websites. COICA has been replaced by an even more troublesome bill named the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act). This new act moves far beyond COICA’s blacklist of pharmacy websites. It would categorize all non-U.S. based online pharmacies as a risk to public health. It would require that Internet service providers and search engines block these sites that credit card companies stop their payments. Even worse, under this new law, Canadian and international pharmacies would be prohibited from defending themselves against those who shut them down.

Many Americans—not just RxRights—are very worried about the ramifications of such legislation. Some called COICA “a dangerous new encroachment of the government into our lives.” Others called it “a tremendous blow to free speech on the Internet—and likely a first step towards much broader online censorship.” RxRights agrees. Patient access to safe and affordable medicines needs to be protected, not cut off.

Let’s be clear. At RxRights, we applaud the Administration’s efforts to crack down on drug counterfeiters. But we also caution, as does Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), that legislators should consider the potential collateral damage that could go along with such sweeping language pertaining to enforcement. In its current form, Protect IP would endanger free speech, freedom of choice, and shut down legitimate websites.

Threat #2: White House pressure on Online Businesses

The White House has initiated a Draconian crackdown on online pharmacies that puts the health of a millions of Americans in jeopardy. American consumers’ access to sources of safe and affordable prescription drugs has been endangered before, but never like this.

In December of 2010, the White House Intellectual Property Czar, Victoria Espinel, announced the administration’s plans to completely shut down online pharmacy sites. How? By “encouraging” private businesses to censor the Internet and cut off American’s access to all online pharmacy sites, even including legitimate Canadian and international pharmacies. The White House has enlisted companies like Google, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Network Solutions to assist with its rampant censorship campaign.

Naturally, all of this new activity is strongly supported by big pharmaceutical companies, who have long tried to persuade the American public that internationally sourced medicines are unsafe.

We agree that drug safety is critical. We also believe that rogue pharmacies should be stopped. But such broad government influence and sweeping censorship is unconstitutional. It endangers the millions of Americans that need access to safe and affordable medicine With the price of drugs at home, they must import their needed prescriptions or go without them.

RxRights has recently learned that this government pressure may have imminent and dire consequences for Americans who need access to safe and affordable medicine. According to a confidential government source, a crackdown is in the works to shut down all international pharmacy websites, including legitimate Canadian and international pharmacies.

Protect Your Access to Affordable Medications

Don’t let Washington politicians take away your right to order safe, affordable medications from Canadian and international pharmacies!

Americans are in imminent danger of losing our ability to order prescriptions from safe, licensed Canadian and international pharmacies. Misguided efforts by Congress and officials in the White House might take away our ability to order medications online—even from the most trusted and reputable sources.

Take action on this issue and tell your elected officials how you feel

Find out more about this issue:

Government Censorship Campaign to Block Affordable Access, RxRights.org

Obama And Rahm’s Flip-Flop On Drug Importation, IntoxiNation

US IP Czar Gets Companies To Cut Off Unlicensed Online Pharmacies, TechDirt

People Across Political Spectrum Come Out Against COICA Censorship Bill, TechDirt

Pharma Deal Shuts Down Senate Health Care Debate, Huffington Post

Online Pharmacies, the Obama Administration and Public Health, PharmacyChecker.com

Google, Microsoft Join Obama to Combat Knockoff Drugs, Bloomberg