What has RxRights been up to?posted Fri, 24 Jun 2011
Effecting change is hard work, especially when you are up against powerful opponents like government and industry. It’s far too easy to get frustrated and bogged down when change doesn’t happen fast enough, but perseverance is key. And so is perspective. That’s why the RxRights staff decided to sit down recently to consider how far we’ve come.
Since we are the bearers of bad news much of the time, we thought our readers might like to know about some of the progress we’ve made in recent months towards protecting access to safe and affordable medicine through legitimate online pharmacies.
October 2010 – Mature Voices MN (an RxRights member) sent a letter to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. The letter thanked the Senator for her past support of prescription drug reimportation, and urged her to contact President Obama to ask him to stop bowing to pressure from the U.S. drug industry to eliminate access to international pharmacies.
Mature Voices MN also sent a mailing to their 1,200 members asking them to send a similar letter to Senator Klobuchar. Following the mailing, Lee Graczyk and his staff were swamped with phone calls and contacts from members of the program who support these actions and who offered up their personal stories about not being able to afford their needed medications. MVMn has shared some of these personal stories on the RxRights website.
November 2010 – RxRights Coalition members in Minnesota and Wisconsin delivered letters to Senators Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl. The letters implored the senators to contact President Obama and ask him to stop the U.S. drug industry’s attempt to eliminate Americans’ ability to buy safe and affordable drugs from Canada and other international sources.
February 2011 – The RxRights Coalition wrote a letter objecting to S. 3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), due to its potential to shut down legitimate online pharmacies. The letter was hand delivered to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and all other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
RxRights also launched our e-mail newsletter in February. Our first newsletter reached 92 people.
We sent our second e-mail newsletter in March to 136 people and our third e-mail newsletter in April to 1,055 people. In May, our newsletter went out to 3,388 people. Today we have 7,.026 subscribers. Thanks to you, our numbers continue to grow!
For the April e-newsletter, we enlisted the help of an online advocacy system so that our readers could send letters directly to their legislators regarding their support for continued access to safe and affordable medications through legitimate online pharmacies. http://capwiz.com/rxrights/issues/alert/?alertid=36823501&PROCESS=Take+Action
After this, the number of RxRights activists speaking out on behalf of safe and affordable medicine grew exponentially. As of June 23, 8,968 activists had sent 29,455 messages (both e-mail and mailed letters) to their senators and representatives.
April 2011 – Lee Graczyk from RxRights attended and presented at the American Society on Aging & National Council on Aging conference in San Francisco. As a part of his outreach, he distributed hundreds of copies of the new RxRights brochure to participants.
May 2011 – RxRights initiated a new, online advocacy campaign targeting President Obama. As of June 23, 2,019 activists had sent letters to the President in support of prescription drug reimportation.
RxRights sent letters to Senators Olympia Snowe and Debbie Stabenow offering support for the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act (S. 319). This bi-partisan solution would provide relief for seniors and families from the high costs of brand name prescription medicines. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that had Congress passed similar legislation introduced last year, it could have saved taxpayers $19.4 billion.
RxRights sent a letter to Ron Paul, in support of H.R. 147—Prescription Drug Affordability Act. This bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow personal prescription drug importation. We pledged our support for the bill and offered to provide support in the way of information and Coalition members’ expertise.
Lee Graczyk, lead organizer for RxRights, completed a radio interview tour. He gave 11 interviews on radio stations in various parts of the U.S. It’s estimated that these interviews have a potential audience of more than 2 million people.
June 2011 – RxRights Coalition members delivered letters regarding the danger that the PROTECT IP Act presents to safe, affordable online pharmacies to Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Al Franken (MN) and Herb Kohl (WI). A letter of opposition to PROTECT IP was also sent to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A letter was sent to Senator Ron Wyden (OR) from the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens (OSCRC) and United Seniors of Oregon (as members of the RxRights Coalition) thanking him for his actions against COICA and PROTECT IP and urging him to continue to strenuously oppose those provisions that would cut off access to safe and affordable medication from reputable online sites.
As you can see from this timeline of actions, though we still face some serious obstacles, the voice of the RxRights Coalition has been steadily growing stronger. Thanks for your part in this. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have taken the time to write to us with your thoughts and personal stories and those who have sent letters to your legislators! Let’s keep up the momentum!