One of the unintended victims of rogue online pharmacies are senior citizens who depend on low-cost drugs from overseas.
Advocates for the elderly, many of whom are living off their obliterated retirement savings, are up in arms over a new proposal being pushed through Congress that would limit the number of countries from where Americans can buy prescription drugs to one: Canada.
The Dorgan-Snowe bill allows direct purchases from Canadian pharmacies but limits wholesale and retail purchases of prescribed medicines from other Tier One countries, including Australia and New Zealand, even if their pharmaceutical industries meet U.S. standards.
The bill is aimed at curbing runaway prescription drug prices and eliminating the need for cash-strapped consumers to turn to online pharmacies, many of which operate from abroad and have been linked to the sale of counterfeit medicine and other scams.
A trio of online senior-citizen forums is leading the charge against the bill because, despite its avowed goal to push down drug prices, it also closes the door on about 20 developed countries where brand name drugs are sold for lower prices.
The Congressional Budget Office says brand name drugs may cost 35–55 percent more in the United States.
The seniors groups are already in a rage over the seizure of imported drugs by the FDA. Apparently the FDA sent the buyers – needy elders – menacing letters, even if they had prescriptions for the medicines they had imported.
For sure, buying prescription drugs overseas is a complicated matter. Big pharma is not happy about opening up the lucrative U.S. market to overseas competitors, especially during a financial crisis. At the same time, regulators worry that this would open the door wider for rogue pharma operations.