They're at it again; the truth about the 'Online Pharmacy Safety Act'posted Mon, 5 Mar 2012
We all breathed a sigh of relief when the Senate and House decided to defer action on the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Unfortunately, they're at it again.
Another pair of bills (H.R. 4095/S. 2002) has cropped up that, in the spirit of SOPA and PIPA, threatens reputable online pharmacies. Both are dubbed the Online Pharmacy Safety Act (OPSA) and would create a mechanism to deny Americans the ability and right to purchase medicines from legitimate Canadian and other international online pharmacies.
On the surface, the “Online Pharmacy Safety Act” (OPSA) appears to have patient interests in mind. Nobody would disagree with the notion that online pharmacies peddling counterfeit drugs must be stopped. But as written, the bills would reject the legitimacy of all non-US pharmacies. They would use the same draconian methods as PIPA and SOPA to sever American access to legitimate international online pharmacies.
Personal importation from licensed Canadian and other international pharmacies has been a lifeline to vital medicines for millions of Americans over the past two decades. OPSA represents yet another attempt in the spirit of PIPA and SOPA to unnecessarily restrict access to affordable medicine.
The proposed legislation creates yet another governmental agency as a part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to validate pharmacy safety. The agency would rely on the existing VIPPS verification service. VIPPS is a program of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy that has ties to Pfizer and—no surprise here—classifies ALL non-US pharmacies as unsafe.
Rogue online pharmacies continue to emerge because Americans can’t afford astronomical U.S. prices. We turn to international online pharmacies because they provide real savings on prescription drugs. If legislators truly care about public health and the safety of online pharmacies, why don’t they direct people towards licensed, verified international online pharmacies?
Furthermore, it’s shortsighted to give the FDA additional responsibilities considering the current drug shortage problem. These shortages exist in part because the FDA lacks the resources to fulfill its current mission. In at least one instance, the FDA’s solution to drug shortages has been to import needed medicines from India. This proves the point that internationally sourced medicine can, in fact, be safe.
OPSA would place an added burden upon the FDA, which by its own self-admission is already stretched beyond its capabilities. It would create yet another federal agency with loosely defined authority—a sure-fire recipe for abuse. It would inappropriately group legitimate, safe online pharmacies that require a doctor’s prescription and sell brand-name medications in the same category with the rogues that sell everything from diluted or counterfeit medicine to narcotics without a prescription. Finally, it would set the stage for an outbreak of negative health care consequences due to lack of access to affordable medicine.
For these reasons, we urge you to write to your representatives today to tell them to reject OPSA!