RxRights 2011 year in reviewposted Wed, 28 Dec 2011
It’s hard to believe that a new year is already about to begin. In the year 2011, the right to import safe and affordable prescription drugs has been threatened like never before. As a result, it has been a busy year for RxRights. Though the threats are still very much alive, we wanted to step back and take this opportunity to thank you—our advocates—and reflect on the last 12 months before moving ahead in the new year.
Since we initiated our advocacy campaign in April, close to 25,000 advocates from all over the country have taken action to protect safe and affordable drug importation from Canadian and other international pharmacies.
RxRights.org has come a long way in 2011. Around this time last year, our website averaged around 10 visits per day. More recently, we have averaged around 665 visits each day and 20,000 visits each month. Over 157,000 people have visited our website in 2011!
Many of you have also shared your personal stories of importation with us. Thank you to each one of you for your participation. You have certainly helped us to make an impact this year!
Highlights of Our Work Together in 2011:
January – The year started out with a draconian crackdown on international online pharmacies—from both the Administration and Congress. This is when our campaign to warn Americans about these threats to affordable medicine started to get serious. We started to utilize our blog to inform readers about the threat.
February – 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 launched an e-mail newsletter. The first newsletter went out to a list of 92 people.
March – Implemented a sophisticated online advocacy system to make it as easy as possible for our advocates to send email letters in support of personal importation to the White House and Congress.
April – RxRights initiated our first advocacy campaign targeting Congress and asking them to fight the influence of big pharmaceutical companies and protect access to affordable medicine for regular citizens.
Advocates have now sent over 80,000 messages to their representatives in the House and Senate regarding this issue.
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 urging them to get involved in RxRights.
May – RxRights initiated an advocacy campaign targeting President Obama. Activists have now sent over 6,600 letters in support of prescription drug reimportation to the President.
Sent letters to Senators Olympia Snowe and Debbie Stabenow offering support for the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act (S. 319). This bill was read twice and has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. This bipartisan 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.
Sent a letter to Ron Paul, in support of Prescription Drug Affordability Act (H.R. 147). 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 any additional information and our Coalition members’ expertise. This bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
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 had a potential audience of more than 2 million people.
Released a matte story and radio segment about protecting the right of Americans to order prescription drugs from legitimate international online pharmacies. The story has resulted in 848 news articles in 29 different states with an estimated readership of 29,728,944. The radio segment has now aired 243 times in 40 different states with an estimated audience of 16,144,802.
June – 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.
Sent a letter 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.
July – Began the month with a tailored campaign to get op-eds or guest articles about importation from specific RxRights activists into targeted newspaper markets.
Updated our website to include more compelling personal stories and testimonials from real people who personally import their prescription drugs.
August – Sent a targeted action alert to our Oregonian e-mail newsletter subscribers asking them to: 1) send a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (OR) thanking him for his opposition to the PROTECT IP Act 2) contact their local newspapers to submit a letter to the editor about how PROTECT IP threatens access to affordable medicine. Letters from advocates appeared in the Portland Tribune and the Albany Democrat Herald.
Lee Graczyk, lead organizer of RxRights, sent a letter to Senator Wyden commending him for his stance against the PROTECT IP Act and reminding him of the threat that PROTECT IP has on access to affordable medicine.
Lee Graczyk sent a letter to the editor to the Washington Post in response to its Aug. 24 editorial.
September – Issued a press statement calling for Congress to recognize the fact that millions of Americans are having trouble affording their needed medications and adopt a common sense approach to personal drug importation.
Sent an e-mail alert asking our Florida subscribers to send a letter to the editor to their local/regional newspapers. The results: 99 activists sent 385 letters. Letters have now appeared in the Fort Myers News Press, and Tampa Bay Times.
October – Started to open up our targeted letter to the editor campaign to subscribers throughout the country. This successful campaign resulted in 269 activists sending 1003 messages to their local/regional newspapers. Letters have been printed in a number of states, including Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to send a letter. If your letter was printed but we don’t have a record of it here, please email us at with a link to the article or information about where it was printed.
November – Sent out a press statement regarding the new threats posed by the Stop Internet Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Media throughout the country have picked up the statement, including: Yahoo! Finance, CBSNews.com, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Boston Globe, NY Daily News, Miami Herald, Columbus Dispatch, PharmaLive and Minnesota Public Radio. The press statement could reach as many as 452 million people.
Lee Graczyk, RxRights lead organizer, wrote a guest post for Techdirt, a respected blog that covers technology issues. The post, critical of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and it’s threat to prescription drug importation, was titled “SOPA Will Have Grave Effects On The Health Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Americans.”
Asked our advocates to participate in the White House petition to take action against H.R.326, the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA (also known as the E-PARASITE Act). Our action helped the petition to meet and even surpass its goal. When we sent the message, the petition was about halfway to the necessary 25,000-signature goal. Now, the petition has close to 50,000 names.
Sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee members in opposition to H.R.3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
December – Began a new advocacy campaign for advocates to send letters to their House representatives asking them to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Sent an e-mail alert to our subscriber list, which has grown to 16,024 people. In less than one week, our advocates sent 2500 letters to their representatives.
In response to the letter that RxRights sent to the House Judiciary Committee and at Congressman Steve Cohen’s request, RxRights submitted language for a proposed amendment to SOPA. The amendment would ensure that Americans have continued access to legitimate online pharmacies.
Sent a letter to Ron Wyden (OR) thanking him for not only continuing to oppose the PROTECT IP Act but for proposing the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. This alternative to PROTECT IP includes reasonable and effective measures for cracking down on rogue websites without threatening American’s right to import prescription drugs from international online pharmacies.
A lot of progress has been made this year but unfortunately, the fight is far from over. We’ll need your continued support in the year ahead. We need to make sure that legislators hear our collective voice. Since there is strength in numbers, we’d appreciate if you could spread the word to your colleagues, family and friends. Ask them to sign up for our email list and join us in protecting access to affordable medicine in 2012.
The staff at RxRights would like to extend our sincere wish that each one of you has a prosperous and healthy new year!