I-SaveRX: Why Isn't Alaska a Member?
When you first log onto I-SaveRX, your initial impression might be visual disappointment, because the site has an older, kind of unsophisticated look to it. You need only scroll down to the bottom of the home page, however, to realize that this site is absolutely unique. At the end of the home page are the official state seals of five states, the current sponsors of the website. Alaska’s State seal is not there, but should be. This website enables the residents of these states to save a lot of money on their prescription drug bills. All states have an open invitation to join, and Alaska should certainly consider being the very next state. Here’s why…
I-SaveRX is a website that facilitates the residents of member states to purchase a broad selection of expensive prescription drugs at huge savings from approved pharmacies in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and soon, Australia. Here is a bit of background on I-SaveRX:
The State of Illinois launched the I-SaveRX program in October of 2004 to provide the citizens of Illinois with access to safe and affordable prescription drug refills. This program has generated significant interest in personal importation not only in Illinois, but across the United States as well. Four additional states have joined the program (Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and Vermont), and several others have taken initial steps to do so. Almost 61,000 interested citizens have requested an enrollment form through the toll-free phone line or downloaded a form from the I-SaveRx website;14,600 have completed the enrollment process; and over 10,000 orders have been placed through the program, each with an average savings of 25 to 50 percent.
The demonstrated safety and success of the I-SaveRx program has prompted ever increasing numbers of Illinoisans and citizens of other participating states to import drugs from Canada and elsewhere around the world. On a national level, public opinion has revealed overwhelming and widespread support for federal legislation that would expand the importation of prescription drugs to wholesalers and pharmacies, with the goal of lowering pharmaceutical prices for all Americans. Unfortunately, the White House and the majority of the legislative leadership in Washington, D.C., have not pursued such legislation, and importation therefore remains available only to individuals for their own personal use. [source: Austrialia and New Zealand: Recommended Expansion of the Illinois Personal Importation Program, page 3]
The idea of “personal drug reimportation” has become very popular in recent years, as prescrption drug prices have been pushed beyond peoples ability to pay for them, and despite the Bush administration’s obstacles to allow people to shop internationally for their prescription drugs. Anyone can hop on the Internet, plug “buy drugs from Canada,” or some similar phrase, into Google, and find dozens or hundreds of willing sellers. The problem is, the buyer has no idea who is on the other side of the Google entry. Are they crooks or frauds? Are the medications real, fakes, or out of date? You just don’t know–except with I-SaveRX you do know. Here is part of the message the I-SaveRX website provides inquiring physicians:
I-SaveRx is safe, regulated and accountable.
1. I-SaveRx only works with licensed vendors. People who purchase drugs from other countries over the Internet currently have no way to know for certain that the vendor is indeed a licensed pharmacy.
2. I-SaveRx operates under a stringent system of quality controls and multiple safety checks.
3. I-SaveRx pharmacies are inspected and approved by state regulatory agencies.
4. I-SaveRx pharmacies in other countries follow the same standards and procedures used by Illinois pharmacies.
5. I-SaveRx pharmacies dispense individually packed medications (i.e., blister packs), which may be safer than domestic packaging methods.
The health care system in the United States is terribly broken, and the iron-fisted grip of the pharmaceutical industry over our lives and pocketbooks is unprecedented. I-SaveRX won’t fix any of that, but it does exploit a loophole in the globalization of the health industry that may help many of us save serious money on prescription drugs now. There is no “down side” except maybe for the drug industry. Here is great public policy waiting to be made. Where are the great Alaskan legislators willing to make it?
Lawrence D. Weiss Ph.D., M.S.
President of the Board