"Members of the I-SaveRx are
saving 25 to 50 percent on the prescription medications they need to
stay alive and well," the governor said. "The program is working.
But we know that there are still many thousands of people out there
who can't afford their prescription drugs and don't know that help
is available. We may not have a multibillion-dollar advertising
budget like the big drug companies do, but we do have some allies
who understand the need for affordable medications and are willing
to help us spread the word about I-SaveRx."
"The cost of prescription drugs in
this country is too high, and I-SaveRx continues to save Illinois
seniors and taxpayers money on lifesaving drugs," said U.S. Rep.
Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. "This partnership sends a clear message about
our commitment to doing what we can to ensure the affordability of
prescription drugs. I urge the FDA to do the same."
Clear Channel Communications is
donating billboard advertising space in the Chicago area.
The SEIU and UFCW labor
organizations have both agreed to participate in a grass-roots
effort, using direct mail and telephone outreach, to contact their
own members, as well as individuals and families who are likely to
lack prescription drug coverage, about savings available through the
"Nearly half of our membership works
in the health care field," said Jerry Morrison, executive director
of the SEIU Illinois State Council, which has 110,000 members --
50,000 of whom are health care workers. "They know how serious
health problems become when a patient can't afford his or her
medicine. That's why spreading the word about the I-SaveRx program
is so important."
I-SaveRx was developed by Illinois
and is the first state-sponsored program in the nation to allow
residents to import prescription drugs from inspected and approved
suppliers in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom at savings
between 25 percent and 50 percent. Since its inception in October of
2004, four other states have joined: Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and
Vermont. Lawmakers in both Minnesota and Connecticut are currently
considering legislative proposals that would make them the sixth and
seventh states to participate in I-SaveRx.
[to top of second column
in this article]
In addition to announcing the
expanded I-SaveRx outreach effort, Blagojevich also blasted the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration for recently seizing shipments of
medications ordered through the I-SaveRx prescription drug program.
More than 4,800 orders have been
filled to date through the I-SaveRx program. But in late January and
early February, the FDA seized approximately 50 I-SaveRx packages
entering the country from the United Kingdom, leaving participants
without their prescription medications while they awaited
The governor was joined Sunday by
57-year-old Illinois resident Philip Flavin, who received a letter
stating that the Fosamasx he ordered through a British I-SaveRx
pharmacy had been seized by the FDA. Flavin, who is disabled,
suffered for two weeks while he waited for his replacement order of
Fosamax, which he uses to treat his osteoporosis.
"There's no excuse for putting
people's health at risk just to protect drug companies," the
governor charged. But that's exactly what the FDA did. They seized
supplies of name-brand medications -- made by major American
manufacturers and dispensed by licensed European pharmacies -- that
have a much higher profit margin when they're purchased here in the
United States. If the FDA has real concerns about the I-SaveRx
program, then they should direct those concerns to me and to our
partners in Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and Vermont -- don't take it
out on the elderly and disabled who need their medicine. Unless the
FDA has concrete evidence that the medications our citizens are
receiving through I-SaveRx are not the same as the medicine that
they buy here in the U.S., then they should stop standing in the way
of our efforts to help people."
I-SaveRx allows all residents of
participating states to order 120 name-brand prescription drugs used
to treat chronic conditions from more than 60 inspected and approved
pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, Ireland and the United
Kingdom. Individuals can call 1-866-ISAVE33 [1 (866) 472-8333]
or visit http://www.I-SaveRx.net
for more details or to enroll.
[News release from the