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While millions of Americans are already taking advantage of more affordable prescription drugs from licensed Canadian online pharmacies, the executive orders aimed at reducing prescription drug costs issued in July by President Trump will not become operational without additional guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Topping President Trump’s list was an executive order to expand Americans’ access to medicines from abroad by allowing importation for personal use from countries like Canada. The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation wants the Trump Administration to keep a few items in mind as they work to implement the executive orders.

On average, imported prescription drugs save Americans $245 per month. The most recent survey from Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) U.S. versus Canadian cost comparison demonstrates how American consumers can find 50% to 90% savings per medication. There is a $648 average monthly savings for people who spend more than $300 on prescriptions from licensed Canadian online pharmacies.

While implementation of the new importation executive order awaits future HHS action, Americans don’t need to wait to access the extensive savings of prescription drugs from Canada. They can take five easy steps now to access #RxImportation savings:

  1. Contact your doctor for a written prescription. How about ‘ensure you have a valid prescription from your physician’.

  2. Choose a safe and licensed online pharmacy website like those certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

  3. Find your product using the website’s search field.

  4. Contact the online pharmacy using the toll free phone number posted at their website for details on submitting your prescription, medical history and arranging payment.

  5. Receive your medication mailed safely directly to your residence.

CPPI is advocating for HHS to immediately implement the personal importation executive order to ensure greatest potential for cost savings for Americans:

  1. CPPI encourages HHS to ensure the current in-person and mail order practice of licensed Canadian pharmacies selling to Americans for personal or household use (defined as 90 day supply) continues. An estimated 2.3 million Americans currently import their medications from abroad. The patients that CPPI represents rely on licensed Canadian pharmacy websites that provide safe and affordable prescription drugs that literally mean life or death. Safe personal importation is also available from licensed pharmacies in other countries, as the Executive Order acknowledges.

  2. CPPI encourages HHS to permit Americans who personally import medications to be able to use credit cards and other traditional payment processors. (Note: use of credit cards and allowing advertising are things that most consumers would not be aware of and prompt more questions that our opponents can weigh in on related to risks of safety and liability from service providers. While they are important points for HHS to understand, I’m not sure they are necessary here. Also, if HHS approved importation then there would be recourse for regulators to address any safety issues and the liability would shift from the service providers to the pharmacies – paving the way for allowing credit cards and advertising, I think)

  3. CPPI advocates for Americans who personally import medications be permitted access to traditional logistics providers (FedEx, UPS) for the shipment of their prescription medications. This would be especially critical for medicine requiring refrigeration such as insulin. (Note: I would combine 3. And 5. In some way.

  4. CPPI encourages permitting licensed Canadian pharmacies to advertise on the internet. Most Americans do not live in border states and the easiest access point for licensed pharmacies would be online.

  5. Finally, CPPI hopes HHS will allow insulin re-importation to come from licensed Canadian pharmacies. This would be the easiest, quickest and most cost effective way to get insulin to Americans. Using the 3rd party logistics providers would help ensure that delivery could take place during the time that the medication can be maintained within the proper temperature range with appropriate packaging. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the U.S., there are increasing reports of deaths of diabetic Americans who rationed their insulin.

There is no timeline for HHS to deliver its guidance implementing the personal importation Executive Order. However, clear and immediate guidance from HHS will result in millions more Americans accessing safe and affordable medications – a policy outcome that not only allows consumers to save money but save lives.

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