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It's sign-up time again for the Big Pharma program Medicare Plan D. That's the plan with the forced insurance purchase, the infamous "donut hole", the "choices" that aren't, etc.
Remember the dire warnings the Republican Congress and their Knee Pad Media pets issued over American citizens buying prescription medicines from other countries? The argument was (and still is!) that imported prescriptions were unsafe and, not unlike terrorists, could kill you while you were sleeping....or something along those lines.
Even though imported drugs cost Americans much less.....they were simply way too dangerous.
Keep that in mind as you read this.....
The FDA this year listed 3,249 foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers subject to its inspection — yet the agency cannot determine whether it has ever inspected 2,133 of them, according to a Government Accountability Office report released during a House subcommittee hearing.
Nearly all U.S. drug makers are inspected at least once every two years, as mandated by a law drawn up long before imports seized a sizable chunk of the drug market. There is no such requirement that the FDA conduct foreign inspections with any regularity, even as imports of all kinds grow in volume.
An estimated 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make drugs sold in the U.S. are imported. Among finished drugs, an estimated 40 percent are made abroad. Link
40 percent of "finished drugs" are imported.....80 percent of "active ingredients" are imported....a miniscule number of these "imported from" locations have ever been inspected by the FDA....BUT..... if Aunt Bessy orders blood pressure medicine from Canada, it may kill her because it's not safe.
Sit your butt down in the Not So Wayback Machine and take a look at how a Republican controlled FDA dealt with this issue in the last few years....
....the Food and Drug Administration has substantiated the industry's concern that imports pose a threat to consumers because drugs billed as coming from Canada may actually have been concocted in third world countries.
The House voted in July 2003 to allow Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada and Europe. Supporters of the legislation thought they had a commitment from the Senate majority leader, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, to allow a vote.
Amy Call, a spokesman for Dr. Frist, said Thursday, "Until he sees a way we can do this safely, he won't put the American people in jeopardy'' by allowing imports. Link
Then came the passage of the Big Pharma written, Plan D bill, replete with thuggish, late night, arm twisting by Big Pharma Patriot Tom DeLay and millionaire Big Pharma job taker, Billy Tauzin. Once passed, the Big Pharma representatives, impersonating elected officials (or vice-versa) rolled out a new thug plan of fear and intimidation.....
The Food and Drug Administration, charged with making sure that medicines are safe and effective, has sided with the pharmaceutical firms. The FDA says the so-called reimportation of drugs is not only unsafe and illegal, but could also wind up getting somebody killed.
"Unregulated importation endangers the lives of America's seniors," FDA associate commissioner William Hubbard recently wrote to the governor of Illinois. "The U.S. public health system should not be undermined by schemes that put those most in need most directly at risk." Link
In early October (2006), the Department of Homeland Security, which operates the Customs and Border Protection agency, disclosed that it would halt confiscation of Canadian drugs and instead conduct random sampling to identify counterfeit and unsafe drugs. This differs from the trend in recent months where the U.S. government was confiscating as much as 20 percent of the shipments. Indeed, as of July 2006, over 37,000 prescription drug orders had been confiscated.
Last year’s increase in seizures started after a policy change on November 17, 2005, two days after the enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug program began. In part because of this ‘coincidence’ in timing, several advocates and Canadian pharmacy officials believed that the increased seizures were related to the launch of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, and claimed it was being used as a way to encourage beneficiaries to enroll in Part D. While both the U.S. customs and FDA denied this relationship, many lawmakers and advocates still alleged that the policy change was more about protecting U.S. drug makers’ sales at high domestic prices than consumer safety. Link
You see, cracking down with thuggishness at the border started "coincidentally" 2 days after Plan D began. The crackdown had nothing to do with scaring seniors, who were buying cheaper medicine from Canada, from continuing to do so. Don't be silly. And the crackdown had nothing to do with scaring seniors into buying higher priced drugs offered with the new Plan D program. That thought never entered the FDA's, HHS's or Decider Guy's mind.
All just "coincidence".
And finally this from the Pharmacist in Chief himself.....dated May of this year...
.....the White House said President Bush's advisers would recommend that he veto any reimportation provision that did not address safety concerns around imported drugs that were identified by a Department of Health and Human Services task force in 2004.
"The administration believes that allowing the importation of drugs outside the current safety system established by the FDA without addressing these serious safety concerns would threaten public health and result in unsafe, unapproved and counterfeit drugs being imported into the United States," the White House statement said. Link
Is it just me.....or is there actually a pattern here of fear-mongering, thug tactics, and hypocritical and duplicitous horsesh*t coming from Republicans over this issue?