Saturday, August 14, 2004

Edwards Calls for Changes to Drug Plans

FARGO, N.D. - Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards called for changes to prescription drug programs ...

Continuing a push to court older voters, Edwards told an crowd of about 2,800 that he and Kerry would "stand up to these drug companies and stand up for the American people."

The North Carolina senator said that as president, Kerry would allow lower-cost prescription medications to be reimported from Canada and free the government to negotiate lower drug prices from drug companies.

He also said drug advertisements should include information about generic equivalents: "The American people need to know when there's a cheaper, equally good alternative."

Edwards Unveils Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs and Boost Economy

2 Comments:

Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Continuing the campaign's two-week focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs, John Edwards Saturday unveiled new components of the Kerry-Edwards plan to lower prescription drug costs for America's seniors. The plan is part of the Kerry-Edwards plan to lower health care costs for all Americans and can be found in their new book, "Our Plan for America." Speaking from Marian Fogerty's front porch in Belle Plane, Minnesota, Edwards heard stories from local Minnesotans struggling to make ends meet in this economy because of their soaring health care costs, most notably prescription drugs. As Edwards detailed today, Kerry and Edwards have a comprehensive plan to lower drug costs, including new proposals to ensure more truth in advertising so seniors can make informed decisions and enacting real cost containment measures. "As health care costs soar, and the economy continues to drag, America's seniors and families struggle," said Edwards. "Millions of Americans are being forced to choose between the food they need to survive and the drugs they need to feel better. These are not choices any American should have to make."

While prescription drug companies continue to hit record profits, the Bush administration has refused to allow seniors to purchase cheaper FDA -approved drugs in Canada and other countries, and outlawed the federal government from negotiating cheaper prices, actions which amount to putting prescription drug profits over real price relief for seniors. Minnesota seniors are currently paying an average of 208% more for their prescription drugs than they would if they were permitted to purchase FDA- approved drugs from Canada.

One reason for sky high prices is drug advertising.

Spending on advertising and marketing by pharmaceutical companies more than doubled from 1996 to 2001 - rising far faster than spending on research and development. Many of these advertisements do not disclose all of the information consumers could use, yet drive up costs of prescription drugs. After Bush took office, the number of enforcement actions against misleading and false drug ads dropped significantly. In 2003 alone the number of enforcement actions by the FDA was 75 percent lower than the average in the last two years of the Clinton Administration. These ads do not disclose all of the information that consumers deserve, and drive up the costs of prescription drugs. Kerry and Edwards will end this waste by directing the FDA to crack down on misleading drug ads. "When a neighbor, a friend, or a parent is sick, Americans deserve to know that the best information is available to them in making such crucial decisions," said Edwards. "Americans also deserve to know the drugs they need will be affordable and reliable. So Americans deserve a health and economic policy that ensures cost containment and truth in advertising." The Kerry-Edwards plan will lower health care costs by cracking down on misleading drug ads and making sure that seniors have access to objective information about the comparative effectiveness of different drugs. Their plan will also provide for objective information about comparative effectiveness of different drugs, by expanding research so that prescription drugs are compared to their cheaper over-the-counter alternatives. Consumers deserve to know whether a prescription anti-allergy or anti-inflammatory drug really works better for most people than the cheaper over-the-counter alternative. With this information public, Americans and their doctors will know the cheapest and most effective treatment. "It is time for us to get this right. Our seniors don't need another magic pill and empty political promise," Edwards said. "They need a president who will put them and their health needs first and the profits and bottom lines of the drug companies last." The Kerry-Edwards plan to lower prescription drug costs is just part of their plan to provide affordable, quality and reliable health coverage to all Americans. Kerry and Edwards recognize the importance of relieving the burden of prescription drug costs, as a part of their commitment to strengthening the economy. -- John Kerry and John Edwards Have a Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Costs --

-- Edwards Details Policies to Lower Costs by Ensuring Truth in Drug Advertising -- Today, John Edwards detailed the Kerry-Edwards plan to lower prescription drug costs for America's seniors, including proposals to ensure more truth in advertising so seniors can make informed purchasing decisions. Spending on advertising and marketing by pharmaceutical companies more than doubled from 1996 to 2001- rising far faster than spending on research and development. Many of these advertisements do not disclose all of the information consumers could use, yet drive up the costs of prescription drugs.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=669&ncid=669&e=9&u=/usnw/20040814/pl_usnw/edwards_unveils_plan_to_reduce_prescription_drug_costs_and_boost_economy103_xml

7:49 PM  
Blogger Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH said...

This week several key members of the Kerry campaign have begun to decry the Bush administration's
claim that reimported prescription drugs from Canada pose a terrorist threat. (See, for example, the coverage of Elizabeth Edwards visit to Wisconsin in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal on 8/14.) This outrageous attempt by the Bush administration to link
two issues on which they are rapidly losing ground - prescription drug costs and the war on terror - was so ludicrous and so blatantly political that it is beginning to backfire on them. There are plenty
of steps we should be taking to protect our ports and other points of entry into the country, but which haven't made it onto the President's radar screen, so when his administration makes a special point of stoking fears of terrorism around prescription drugs coming in from Canada, it really stands out for its hypocrisy as well as its idiocy.

6:42 PM  

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