Rahm Emanuel statement on Rost.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
Emanuel Statement: Importation Press Conference with Pfizer Vice President Dr. Peter Rost
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel released the following statement today at a press conference with members of the tri-partisan Rx Drug Coalition and Pfizer Vice President, Dr. Peter Rost debunking the myth that prescription drugs from abroad are unsafe. Dr. Rost is the first executive from a major drug company to come forward and speak out against the drug industry’s scare campaign. Dr. Rost and members of Congress will urge the U.S. Senate to take action this year on prescription drug market access legislation.
“I would like to nominate Dr. Rost for the Guts of the Year award. Courageous whistleblowers like Dr. Rost have helped make the tobacco industry accountable for misconceptions about the health risks of smoking. Over the past several years, whistleblowers have uncovered major accounting scandals with consequences for millions of Americans. I want to thank Dr. Rost for blowing the whistle on the pharmaceutical industry, breaking down myths perpetuated by the industry that help keep prices – and profits – high at the expense of American families.
It is clear from the letter I received last night from Pfizer the industry is trying to discredit Dr. Rost and disparage his expertise on the issue. It shows you how they turn on one of their own. Dr. Rost is lending his voice to the chorus of Americans exclaiming that drug prices are simply too high, and that importation of affordable drugs can be a safe and effective way to hold down prices in the U.S.
It’s not just politicians standing around and talking about why we need importation. How many studies do we need to show that the American people are convinced that drugs are too expensive in this country and committed to doing something about it?
Here’s a recent one by the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute. One-third of American adults - with health insurance - either purchase their medication from other countries or plan to do so soon. Another--66 percent of Americans believe that drug prices are “unreasonably high.” And a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that four fifths of Medicare recipients support importation.
There is no clearer example of these startling price differences than the AIDS drug Norvir, marketed by Abbott Laboratories and developed with American taxpayer dollars. What do American taxpayers get for their generous investment? They get to pay $642.90 a month for this lifesaving drug, while it costs $52.04 in Australia for a month’s supply.
The pharmaceutical industry and Congressional Leadership continue to hide behind the facade of safety concerns, while Americans continue go without the drugs they need.
With the help of Dr. Rost, we will continue to break down the safety myth, and the other myths perpetuated by the industry. However long it takes, we will not back down until a comprehensive, meaningful importation bill is passed into law.”
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