Monday, June 13, 2016


Submitted by Daniel Hines, Publisher, Todays Seniors Network, American Rx Bill of Rights, Rx For American Health
53 Oak Hill Drive,
Elliville, MO 63021

As an advocate working for 16 years on behalf of lowering prescription medicine prices, I am respectfully making this submission to the Democratic Platform Planning Committee to address,  by incorporating into the Party platform  the Articles covered in an American Rx Bill of Rights,  a move that would lessen the damaging impact of rising prescription drug costs upon the health and well- being of millions of Americans.

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.

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee, the Honorable Representative Elijah Cummings has been a leader in the continuing struggle to lower prescription drug prices; The Honorable Representative Keith Ellison has been a long-time champion of personal importation and sponsor of legislative initiatives to grant such access to American patients; the campaigns of both the Democrat Presumptive nominee, Ms. Hillary Clinton, and the Honorable Senator Bernie Sanders have announced strategies to lower prescription drug costs that are reflected in the Basic Tenants of this Submission (see below)—all these are indications of the support within the Democratic Party for inclusion into the Party Platform.
Now, 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. 

While higher-priced specialty medicines have captured most of the headlines in the recent outrage about the pricing abuses of Pharma, we also respectfully submit that cost relief can be made possible immediately by legislation allowing personal importation of vital maintenance brand-name medicines. 

As noted, (a) a medicine that is unaffordable is unavailable; (b) vital maintenance medicines 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.  However, if the patients had access to affordable maintenance medicines in the first place, possibly they would, in many instances, likely have avoided later complications.

The Basic Tenants of the Submission follow:

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 medications for Americans.

An examination of the Articles:

Article One (A Basic Right to Good Health)
The impact of millions of Americans being denied the health benefits of access to a regimen of safe, affordable medicines because of cost is a national health issue that has yet-to-be-recognized consequences.
(That is why the ability of American Citizens to make health care decisions in concert with their physicians such as the purchase of personally imported safe, affordable prescription medicines should not be hampered by any actions by government or private entities as a policy to restrict Americans' access to authentic medicines. )

Article Two (An Unaffordable Medicine is Unavailable)
Because a prescription medicine that is unaffordable is unavailable, it qualifies within even the existing   'rules' of the FDA that such a medicine that is otherwise unavailable in the U.S. is indeed eligible to be personally imported by an American patient.
(Arbitrary denial by the FDA to such access is detrimental to the health of the patient by denying him or her access to vital maintenance medicines. This is a violation of the purpose of the FDA which is ostensibly designed to protect the health and well-being of American citizens.)

Article Three (Citizens as Stakeholders)
It is incumbent upon Congress that it act to ensure that ordinary American citizens whose health and finances are adversely affected by Pharma pricing practices, advocacy groups other than those of Pharma, are given a 'stakeholder' status equal to that of Pharma.
(The relationship between the FDA, elected officials, and Pharma has led to numerous abuses, access by Pharma to legislators and other elected officials based on the contribution of millions of dollars, favored status for Pharma representatives and their front groups as the primary representative at public hearings to determine the health care policy for Federal, State and Local Governments, thereby skewering the decision-making process.)

Article Four (Due Process)
Americans who purchase safe, affordable medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One Countries whose standards meet or exceed those of the U.S., are the legitimate owners of their authentic medicines and are entitled to exercise their due process rights to have their personal property free from undue and unjustified seizure oar destruction by any governmental agency unless the seizing authority can demonstrate via established judicial processes and to courts that such seizures are only of bogus, counterfeit or unsafe prescription medicines.

Article Five (Public Interest)
Americans are 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.
(Abuses in pricing, illegal business activities, or undue influence upon policy-making by the FDA or elected officials should result in a reduction of the patent protection afforded Pharma to the detriment of untold numbers of Americans who must be able to pay what Pharma believes the traffic will bear.)

Article Six (Reciprocity)
The FDA should extend reciprocity to other Tier One countries in the interests of the health of American citizens, and Congress should compel the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take action for the authority already passed by Congress to facilitate outreach with selected countries to establish such reciprocity and Memorandums of Understanding on Good Manufacturing Procedures.
(The majority of brand name prescription medicines sold to Americans is manufactured at plants outside the U.S., under FDA supervision, or at plants licensed by Pharma members to produce medicines under a license granted by a particular company, a validation that medicines produced outside the U.S. and sold in this country are indeed capable of being safe. Also, the FDA has entered into agreements with regulatory agencies in many countries to assume the task of overseeing ingredients manufacture of ingredients

Specifics of the Platform Plank

Specifically then, the Platform Plank would 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.

We urge your serious consideration of this submission.
Respectfully submitted:

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