June 13, 2016—The publisher of the American Rx Bill of Rights has submitted comments to the Democratic Platform Planning Committee urging that it incorporate measures designed to lower prescription medicine costs into the party platform. He said a similar submission will be made to the Republican Platform Committee.
Daniel Hines, who also publishes the blogs Todays Seniors Network and Rx for American Health, noted that, “Unaffordable medicines deprive American patients of the health maintenance benefits made possible by access to a regimen of safe, affordable medicines, because unaffordable medicines are, in and of themselves, unavailable.”
He noted that Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD 7), who is the chairman of the Platform Planning Committee, has been a long-standing supporter of moves to lower prescription prices, and that Committee member Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN 5) has introduced legislation on behalf of personal importation of prescription medicines. He also notes that the campaigns of both the Democrat Presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, and Senator Bernie Sanders have announced strategies to lower prescription drug costs that are reflected in the Basic Tenants of the submission.
“All this is an indication of the support within the Democratic Party for inclusion into the Party Platform,” Hines says.
“By ensuring that this level of support is included in the Party Platform, the members of the committee will have a unique opportunity to illustrate its awareness of the sense of urgency that exists for millions of Americans who are unable to afford their prescription medicines.”
Hines notes that, “While higher-priced specialty medicines have captured most of the headlines in the recent outrage about the pricing abuses of Pharma, cost relief can be made possible immediately by legislation allowing personal importation of vital maintenance brand-name medicines.”
He cites the cause-effect impact of denied access to readily available lower-priced, safe, authentic vital maintenance medicines.
“Because these medicines are priced so high, they are a ‘driver’ of health care costs both immediately and in the future with ensuing harmful effects upon the health of Americans who are denied those maintenance medicines simply because they are unaffordable.
“This can lead to future health complications requiring medications that cost thousands of dollars, claiming justification for their costs because, admittedly, they offer extensions of life-expectancy that would not be otherwise available, “ Hines explains. “ However, if the patients had access to affordable maintenance medicines in the first place, possibly they would, in many instances, have avoided later complications.”
The basic tenants of the submission are:
· All Americans have a basic right to good health;
· An unaffordable medicine is truly unavailable;
· Citizens must have rights as stakeholders in debate and discussions of health policy centered on pharmaceutical costs equal to that of Pharma;
· The rights of Americans to due process in the protection of their rights and ability to make valid medical decisions must be protected;
· It is in the public interest to recognize the significant contributors to the development of research and development costs of new medicines through their tax dollars in support of grants to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, as such, should be protected from unfair or questionable patent protection granted to Pharma that fails to recognize the rights of American citizens;
· The FDA should enter into reciprocal agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) in recognition of its many agreements already in place with authorities in other countries to help ensure a safe and easily validated source of personally imported medications for Americans.
Hines says that the Platform Plank should call for Congressional and Presidential support and enactment of a comprehensive consensus-building strategy to lower prescription prices, including but not limited to price negotiations; Pharma patent protection revisions to reflect American taxpayer support of NIH-funded research and development; an end-to-pay-to-delay tactics of Pharma to protect their markets while denying Americans access to lower-cost generics; approval of the rights of Americans to personally import safe, affordable brand-name medicines from licensed registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards of safety and efficacy meet or exceed those of the U.S.; compelling the Secretary of Health and Human Services to facilitate agreements for implementation and, with reciprocal Memorandums of Understanding, to provide the framework for such personal importation.
“The inclusion of this plank in the Democratic Party would put the Party on the record that it truly does realize the urgent need for immediacy in dealing with the harmful health and economic impacts upon millions of Americans deprived of their medicines,“ Hines concludes. “And that will make it accountable for its actions in the future to ensure such availability of and access to affordable vital medicines.”