Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Purple Haze: How the Purple Pill is Fighting Maine on Cheap Canadian Imports

In case you haven't heard, the pharmaceutical industry -- i.e., PhRMA -- is suing Maine, attempting to block a new law that goes into effect today. "The law, the first of its kind, sanctions the direct purchase of mail-order drugs from some foreign pharmacies. It has ignited a court battle with the pharmaceutical industry and set the stage for a broader fight over access to less-costly medication" (see here for the story plus a copy of PhRMA's complaint and Maine's motion to dismiss).

PhRMA contends that the practice could expose residents to tainted or counterfeit medication. "It's not a safety issue," Republican Gov. Paul LePage said in an interview. "It's turf."

Importing drugs like NEXIUM from Canada can save Maine over $250 per 90-day supply of 40 mg tablets as well as saving employees more than $150 per such prescription (see chart below).

How can you argue against that kind of savings?

Well, it appears that AstraZeneca, which markets NEXIUM, hastily produced the following video and posted it to its PurpleZone YouTube site:

While this video is not specifically targeting the Maine law, it was release a couple of days ago and it seems to have been quickly cobbled together to be sure it was available before the Maine law went into effect. Or, it could just be a coincidence in timing.

"It's important to know..." is a phrase used repeatedly in this video with low sound and graphics quality (is it a real AZ video or a counterfeit?). The first thing to know is how to recognize the pill, which seems to be the only way a consumer can be sure he/she is getting NEXIUM and not some counterfeit, Canadian version! But whatever Maine state employees are getting from Canada, if it works for them and it cots $0, that may be all they need to know.

The AZPurpleZone and this "hazy" video remind me of the song "Purple Haze" by Jimmy Hendricks. I've altered the lyrics a bit:

Purple haze all in my tummy
Lately things just don't seem very yummy
Actin' funny, and I know why (side effects)
'Scuse me while NEXIUM from Canada I buy

Purple haze all around
Don't know if I'm comin' up or down
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is, that PURPLE PILL put a spell on me

Help me help me
Oh no no... no imports for me!

Purple haze all in my YouTube eyes
Don't know if it's day or night
You've got me blowin, I'm all in a twit
Is it real or just counterfeit?

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