Sixth annual Script Your Future contest saw participation by 66 health profession schools hosting 300+ events in 18 states and Puerto Rico, and reaching more than 12 million consumers nationwide – National Consumers League

May 25, 2017

Sixth annual Script Your Future contest saw participation by 66 health profession schools hosting 300+ events in 18 states and Puerto Rico, and reaching more than 12 million consumers nationwide

Contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay,, (412) 945-3242 or Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC — Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) and its partners announced the winners of the sixth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a competition designed to engage health profession students and faculty across the nation by encouraging teams to develop creative ideas, events, and initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of medication adherence. This year’s winners are University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

The 2017 Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the national Script Your Future public awareness campaign coordinated by NCL and its 135+ public and private stakeholder organizations, which include Challenge sponsors—the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). “The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge continues to be an innovative method for our future healthcare professionals to engage with their local communities,” said Executive Vice President and CEO at AACP Dr. Lucinda L. Maine. “The broad social media outreach and events held in these communities provide essential information and strategies for patients to improve their medication adherence and ultimately their health outcomes.”

Research shows that nearly three out of four Americans do not take their medications as directed. This may lead to devastating results, particularly for people with chronic conditions. National health advocacy leaders have recognized poor medication adherence, the outcome of which leads to more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and at least 125,000 U.S. deaths each year, as a public health priority. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total healthcare costs, and it was for these reasons that NCL launched the Script Your Future awareness campaign in 2011. The Team Challenge was established as a way to extend campaign messages into medical and other health profession schools, and to nurture adherence-minded values in future generations of professionals entering the workplace.

“Each year, we are so impressed with and inspired by the collaborative and creative outreach the student teams carry out to improve awareness of medication adherence in their communities,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Though the current healthcare landscape is anything but certain, we know that the role of healthcare professionals in promoting medication adherence and improving health outcomes will always be integral. We look forward to continuing to work with the next generation of health professionals to promote an interprofessional approach to adherence-minded care delivery through the Team Challenge.”

Top-performing teams are honored with a National Award for overall outstanding team achievement, or a Focused Award, which recognizes outstanding team achievement in the specific areas of health disparity/under-represented community outreach, media/communications outreach, or creative interprofessional team event. This year, the Script Your Future National Awards went to the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). NEOMED also won two focused awards in the areas of health disparities and media outreach. The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy earned the focused award for creative interprofessional team event. For the first time, NCL also honored an outstanding team in their first or second year of the Challenge with the Rookie Award. This prize went to University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

“The Script Your Future Team Challenge is a forward-thinking, collaborative effort that could spark further improvements in medication adherence,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “It’s appropriate that pharmacists play a prominent role in this annual event. They’re clinically trained medication experts with a commitment to driving patient adherence through services like medication therapy management and medication synchronization. The Script Your Future participants are experimenting with new ways to improve health outcomes and bend the cost curve—and we can all learn from their experience. NCPA applauds their efforts.”

For this year’s Challenge, hundreds of future healthcare professionals held more than 320 events in 18 states and Puerto Rico, directly counseled more than 15,000 patients, and exposed more than 12 million consumers nationwide to Script Your Future. Since the Challenge began in 2011, more than 12,000 future healthcare professionals have directly counseled nearly 50,000 patients and reached more than 23 million consumers.

“The Medication Adherence Team Challenge gives students the opportunity to build inter-professional healthcare teams that can help patients adhere to their prescriptions,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. “Participants in this year’s Challenge exemplified the influence that care collaboration has on advancing patient care and improving public health. The NACDS Foundation is proud to be a part of such an impactful and educational program.”

“Considering both their expertise and accessibility, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help patients optimize the effects of their prescription medications which includes encouraging adherence. We are excited to continue our involvement with the Medication Adherence Team Challenge and the strong message it sends to healthcare professionals, patients and the community about the importance of medication adherence,” said APhA CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA.

The recognized schools, selected from dozens of applications and 66 participating educational institutions, are listed below.

National Challenge Award: University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy partnered with the University’s Physician Assistant Program, Nursing Program and several student organizations to sponsor 23 innovative medication adherence events and activities that reached 750,000+ people in West Virginia. The Charleston team participated in eight health fairs, partnered with local hospitals, and provided direct patient counseling, point-of-care testing, and medication reviews to three underserved rural communities. The team also introduced the “Generation Rx” program, through which more than 300 5th grade students were educated on medication adherence, medication safety, and proper medication disposal. In addition to targeted interventions addressing cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes, the Charleston team, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), incorporated educational outreach efforts to address the opioid epidemic and safe opioid use and disposal. Other activities included the distribution of 33,000 medication adherence flyers and wallet cards, the coordination of a West Virginia Pharmacist’s Day at the State Legislature, and a six-part radio series on medication adherence.

National Challenge Award: Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
The team at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), comprised by pharmacy, medical, and nursing students, conducted several community and media events to educate a broad range of patient populations, including children, seniors, refugees, and low-income individuals, on the importance of medication adherence. The team established multiple touchpoints for patients and consumers to connect with the Script Your Future campaign by providing educational opportunities and disseminating thousands of wallet cards, posters, stickers, and pillboxes in various community settings—including college basketball games, senior assisted living facilities, local recreation centers, free clinics, and a cheer competition. Other activities included a medical mission trip to Honduras, participation in the Accelerate Northeast Ohio “Pillbox Project” Competition, and the direct counseling of 4,000+ patients. Additionally, the NEOMED team was honored for its medication adherence advocacy with a proclamation from Ohio Governor John Kasich, designating January through March “Remembering to Take Your Medicines Months.”

National Challenge Award: Finalists
The following schools were named Finalists under the National Award category: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy (LECOM), Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Touro University California College of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

Rookie Award: University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (USciences) made an excellent showing in the Team Challenge as a first-time competitor, reaching more than 15,000 people through 17 community events and social media outreach. Students from USciences’ Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences comprised the interprofessional team. In addition, the team forged partnerships with Pennsylvania’s Dental Medicine School, Samson College of Health Sciences, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and Temple University’s School of Dentistry and School of Medicine. Activities included a weekly table at the local farmer’s market, partnerships with local pharmacies to counsel patients, and participation in the “Know Your Numbers” Men’s Health Initiative of 2017, Philadelphia’s largest screening event for men. The team’s work on medication adherence and the Script Your Future campaign was also featured in its school newsletter and other Philadelphia news outlets.

Rookie Award Finalist: St. John Fisher College
St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY also made a very strong showing in their Rookie year of the Challenge.

Health Disparities/Under-represented Community Outreach Award: Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) addressed economic, educational, and cultural barriers to medication adherence through its robust outreach to underserved populations. Examples of NEOMED’s efforts include a Night of Hope for refugees in Akron, a Heroin Epidemic community presentation, seminars in three underserved senior apartment complexes, and a medical mission trip to Honduras that reached 2,400+ patients.

Communication and Media Outreach Award: Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
This year’s Media/Communications Outreach Award went to Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), which reached more than 1 million people through several print and digital media. NEOMED’s team produced two videos—the first highlighting Script Your Future campaign materials through the “Mannequin Challenge,” and the other demonstrating the importance of medication adherence through a music video. In addition to educating thousands of patients through social media, the team also promoted medication adherence through articles in university and local publications and local news segments.

Touro University California College of Pharmacy, a finalist for both the National Challenge Award and the Media Outreach Award, produced an excellent animated video about the importance of medication adherence and tips to improve adherence.  

Creative Inter-Professional Team Event Award: University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy partnered with students from the University’s schools of medicine, nursing, public health, social work, and health and rehabilitation services to conduct several innovative events that raised awareness of the importance of taking medications as directed. In addition to patient counseling and point-of-care testing, other activities included a tabling event at a local pharmacy, presentations on the importance of medication adherence to occupational therapy students, a feature in the School of Social Work newsletter, and trainings to nursing and medical students on conducting the MMAS-4 survey, which measures medication adherence.


About Script Your Future
Launched in 2011, Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. As an advocacy organization, NCL is working to educate consumers and key health stakeholders on the importance of taking medication as directed. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit For more information on NCL, please visit

NCL applauds preservation of the Obama Administration’s Adoption of Fiduciary Rule – National Consumers League

May 23, 2017

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) is applauding the conclusion by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that there is a “no principled legal basis” for further delaying implementation of the core provisions of the Department’s conflict of interest (or “fiduciary”) rule, about which Acosta wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. As a result, the provisions of the rule that close loopholes in the definition of fiduciary investment advice will become applicable as scheduled June 9. Also newly applicable will be the impartial conduct standards requiring those operating—with what would otherwise be an impermissible conflict of interest—to act in their customers’ best interests, charge reasonable fees, and avoid misleading statements.

Every year, retirement savers lose $17 billion because they receive bad advice from financial advisers—such as by being steered into investments that provide larger payments to the adviser but lower returns for the saver.

“The Department of Labor under President Trump and Secretary Acosta has been pressured on many fronts to undo this critically important rule that requires that investment advisors operate in the best interests of the investor. We welcome this news that DOL sees no further legal basis for delay after many months of indecision,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director.

“Honest firms and investor advocates agree that working in the best interests of clients and avoiding conflicts of interest is good for industry and good for consumers. We urge the Trump Administration not to consider any further delays in implementing the fiduciary rule, which is backed up by very strong regulatory record at DOL and has been upheld in previous court cases,” said Greenberg.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit

The American Health Care Act’s effect on mental health care coverage – National Consumers League

American doctor talking to businesswoman patient

Written by NCL Intern Taylor Zeitlin

As the month of May comes to a close, so does Mental Health Awareness Month. With a staggering 17.9 percent of the U.S. population suffering from some form of mental disorder as of 2015, the topic of mental health care coverage is more pertinent than ever. Meanwhile, the House has voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is intended to give both individuals and health care providers more choice when it comes to health coverage.

To some of you, this concept of free choice may be appealing, but the ramifications of such a bill could have grave consequences. The AHCA gives insurers the power to severely limit what is covered under health plans and allows companies to charge higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. Major news outlets have been reporting about the tumultuous decline of health care coverage that may result in the event that the American Health Care Act passes into law.

But, what does this mean for those who seek treatment for mental health issues? Under the AHCA, insurers can choose to completely disregard mental health conditions and treatments, suggesting major headaches for sufferers. For those who will be affected, it’s important to know what to expect if the AHCA becomes law.

1.  Those suffering from mental illnesses (i.e. depression) will pay higher premiums.

  • Insurance companies now have the right to charge higher premiums to people who have been diagnosed with depression (also known as Major Depressive Disorder). In the same vein, other ailments such as anxiety or bipolar disorder will be at a financial disadvantage when it comes to coverage. Insurers cannot deny people with pre-existing conditions outright (insurers were allowed to do this before the Affordable Care Act and luckily the House Republicans opted to not bring this back for the AHCA), but mentally ill people seeking insurance will have to pay significantly higher premiums for care.

2.  Mental health care may no longer be protected under health plans.

  • When it came to the topic of essential health benefits (EHB), the AHCA gave the decision-making power back to the states. Under the ACA, addiction and mental health issues were classified as EHBs, and therefore, had to be covered by all insurance plans, including Medicaid. The complete unraveling of the ACA essentially nullifies the right to coverage for these conditions. This means that insurers can opt out of covering mental health care completely in some states and many may be at risk of losing coverage for these critical services. Additionally, the repeal of the subsidies approved by the ACA will allow insurers to charge higher premiums to those seeking mental health care.

3.  Employers will have the ability to purchase health plans that do not cover mental health care.

  • As if it could get any worse, employers will get the right to deny employees care for mental illnesses via the health care packages they choose to provide. So, people will still receive health benefits from their employer, but they will be stripped of the financial support for mental health care that employers were unable to deny before.

The consequences of denying mental health coverage can be fatal. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among U.S., while it is the second among teens. Additionally, suicide rates in the United States are at a thirty-year high, making services like therapy and medication more important than ever. Mental health already faces a huge amount of stigma in this country, and the AHCA’s blatant insensitivity towards the issues faced by sufferers is disheartening. Our President and the Senate have a moral prerogative to make sure the AHCA in its current state does not pass into law. Our country should not sacrifice the wellbeing of its citizens for the ease of choice; lives are at risk.


National Consumers League questions lack of passenger input at House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on privatizing the airlines – National Consumers League

May 17, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—Today, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Need to Reform FAA and Air Traffic Control to Build a 21st Century Aviation System for America,” to discuss the proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system. No passengers have been invited to comment about their experiences, despite a recent spate of harrowing consumer rights abuses on the airlines. The flying public has invested billions through taxes and fees in the infrastructure that makes the airline business model possible. Unfortunately, the Committee will not hear from a single member of the most critical constituency—the public who pay for and are directly affected by the operation of air traffic control.

The following statement is attributable to National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Now more than ever—with public awareness about the callous treatment of the flying public at an all time high—omitting any discussion of passenger concerns seems particularly offensive. Consumer advocates have written about the dangers of putting air traffic control into the hands of an industry that has proven itself over and over to have little concern about consumer rights and protection and has shamelessly squeezed every ounce of profit out of the flying public. Why in the world would we put a critical public safety function, air traffic control, into the hands of such poor stewards of the public trust?”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

NCL statement of support for confectionery industry voluntary commitment to calorie transparency and package-size options – National Consumers League

May 12, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and nutrition advocacy organization, is pleased by the confectionery industry’s voluntary commitment made at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit to provide consumers with greater transparency and portion options.

The following statement may be attributed to Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League:

“Consumers consider candy a fun treat which can be incorporated into a balanced diet. The confectionery companies that made the recent announcement to label calories on the front of their packaging and create smaller sizes are helping people understand what it means to have the occasional treat. We support the companies’ commitment and investment in consumer education programs that will reinforce the treat concept and help consumers to make informed choices and reduce their consumption of calories and sugar.”

NCL has long respected the role of the Partnership for a Healthier America in the work it does to encourage the production and consumption of healthier alternatives on campuses, in hospitals, and in the broader marketplace. 


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit

Happy Mother’s Day 2017 – National Consumers League

2017 marks the centennial of women being allowed to serve as Members in Congress. Jeanette Rankin of Montana was the first woman elected to serve in the House of Representative in 1916 and again in 1940. To commemorate this august celebration, the House of Representatives’ historian is featuring a special exhibit of oral histories, which you can check out here if you aren’t lucky enough to be able to see it in person.

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, it’s a good time to look at the considerable progress women have achieved—and also to grapple with the depressing setbacks women have faced recently. As a New York Times story this week pointed out, in the progress column, there are now 21 women in the Senate. No, it’s not half, as it should be, but it’s still progress for what is a very powerful post in American politics.

But the setbacks abound. The House just passed the Affordable Care Act repeal and replace legislation, and in so doing, removed the required coverage for pregnancy and maternity care. The deal was negotiated by 13 Republican men. The Senate’s health care team, established by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), includes not a single woman.

Although female Republican senators number only five, they include Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)—all three of whom are highly respected, very experienced, and have special expertise on health care. The New York Times piece noted how little power—compared with their 16 Democratic female counterparts in the Senate—those GOP female Representatives have.

Then there was the House repeal and replace debates that led up to the vote, which featured Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) demanding to know why men should have to pay for prenatal care–nevermind the fact that the ACA’s requirement that women have no cost access to contraception has driven down the rate of abortion and unwanted pregnancies. And yet, President Trump’s new HHS Secretary Tom Price, a doctor himself, has said repeatedly that no women has been denied access to contraception because of cost. What a shockingly false and ignorant statement!

So Happy Mother’s Day to women across the country! We may have 21 female members of the Senate, but we still have a very long ways to go. We have a Secretary of HHS who doesn’t believe women should have access to contraception or abortion. We have a new woman appointed to oversee Title X programs—great! But she also happens to be a woman who believes birth control should be between a woman, her husband, and God. Call me naïve, but I thought by 2017 women would have gained far more power, respect, and security than recent events demonstrate.

National Consumers League joins consumer advocates demanding consumer protections in Washington – National Consumers League

May 10, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) is joining with consumer groups and individuals who are descending on Congress this week to demand an end to the attacks on consumer protections by both Houses of Congress. In particular, the advocates are calling on Congress to reject legislation that would weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and undermine its proposed rules to limit high-cost payday loans and forced arbitration. The advocates are also urging opposition to the Regulatory Accountability Act, which will cause agency paralysis by analysis and make it extremely difficult to enact important new health, safety, and pocketbook protections.

“Consumers want their finances protected from predatory debt collectors or pay day loan sharks. They want sensible regulations that keep their air and water safe for themselves and their families. They overwhelmingly want access to health care and oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They want safer toys, cribs and strollers for their children. Yet the majority in this Congress is hell bent on repealing those consumer protections and that spells danger for all of us,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

NCL is particularly concerned about the security of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, including the $12 billion in ill-gotten gains the agency returned to American consumers. 

“NCL is proud to be joining the legions of consumers who have come to Washington to say ‘stop attacking hard won consumer protections,’” said Greenberg. “We must stand up to members of Congress who are siding with corporations over everyday consumers and oppose the repeal of sensible consumer protections.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

NCL releases consumer guide to fraudulent coding bootcamp claims – National Consumers League

May 10, 2017

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, 207-2832

Washington, DC – Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) launched an internal site and consumer-friendly guide to help identify fraudulent coding bootcamp job placement claims. Coding bootcamps have been growing, thanks to the job skills they teach to students eager to land sought-after careers in the technology field. However, due to the large demand in bootcamp programs companies have been exaggerating their graduates’ job placement numbers in order to stay competitive. Because of these questionable tactics, NCL is grasping the opportunity to help consumers spot red flags before choosing a bootcamp to enroll in. 

“With tuition costs ranging from $5,000 to as much as $21,000, it’s clear as to why administrators would be tempted to stretch their job placement claims,” explains Sally Greenberg, NCL’s Executive Director. “It’s become exceptionally frequent to see bootcamps boasting job placement rates of well over 90% with “guaranteed” high incomes upon graduation – a [disappointing], but common, reality.”

NCL has released a detailed consumer guide to help relieve the knowledge gap between what is claimed in coding bootcamp advertisements and the reality behind the program’s numbers. The guide examines the popularity of the new coding trend, helps consumers debunk common false claims, and urges people to follow several basic steps when considering a coding bootcamp such as:

  1. Beware of too-good-to-be-true job placement claims. Placement rates in excess of 90% are likely to be exaggerated and rely on cherry-picked data.
  2. Make sure the schools you’re considering are licensed in the state in which they operate.
  3. Don’t rely solely on advertising materials provided by the bootcamp operator. Use independent information to evaluate your options – alumni references, services offered, and quality and qualifications of instructors. 

To make informed decisions with confidence and learn more about the challenges facing this growing industry, visit to view NCL’s coding bootcamp consumer guide.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

NCL statement on the risks of importation and counterfeit drugs – National Consumers League

May 9, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—As the nation’s pioneer consumer organization, the National Consumers League (NCL) strongly supports consumer access to safe, effective, and affordable prescription drugs. However, given NCL’s long-standing focus on health policy and fraud issues, we are concerned that pending prescription drug importation proposals will open the U.S. market to a flood of counterfeit and/or substandard drugs, putting patient health and safety at risk. HHS and FDA agree that the risks of importation outweigh any potential cost-saving benefits. “Over the last 17 years, every HHS Secretary and FDA Commissioner has refused to certify the safety of prescription drug importation,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

Counterfeit drugs are a significant public health threat. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 percent of medicines worldwide are counterfeit, including up to half of the drugs consumed in developing nations. Counterfeit drugs may contain the wrong active ingredient, the wrong amount of the active ingredient, no active ingredient, harmful ingredients, or even poisons such as mercury, road tar, or antifreeze. Fortunately, the U.S. has a closed drug distribution system, along with a comprehensive FDA review, approval, and regulatory process that works to protect American consumers from the threat of counterfeit drugs.

Allowing prescription drug importation from Canada and other countries would likely lead to an explosion of new online pharmacies hoping to lure consumers with the promise of low prices. We know, however, that it is very difficult for consumers to distinguish between safe and legitimate online pharmacy websites and thousands of others selling counterfeit, adulterated, and unapproved drugs. According to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global, of which NCL is an Observer Member), 65 percent of online search results for prescription drugs lead U.S. consumers to illegal and unsafe websites. Furthermore, it is difficult – if not impossible – for law enforcement to take action against these illegal online pharmacies, especially if they are based overseas. Allowing prescription drug importation will only exacerbate these patient safety risks.

NCL is also concerned that there is no way to ensure that drugs purporting to come from Canada actually come from Canada. Canada has said that it will not certify the integrity and safety of drugs exported from Canada into the U.S. According to an FDA report, “FDA evaluation of non-FDA-approved imported drugs revealed that while nearly half of imported drugs claimed to be Canadian or from Canadian pharmacies, 85 percent of such drugs were actually from different countries.” The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) shares NCL’s concerns and has cautioned that “sending consumers online to look for Health Canada-approved medicines is reckless, as US patients are likely to receive unapproved, substandard, and counterfeit drugs from unknown foreign sources, posing a serious risk to patient safety.”

Prescription drug importation undermines the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) safety goals, because product would be sold into the U.S. system without the necessary product identifiers that will enable electronic tracing of products throughout the drug supply chain (see 2/28/17 letter from the Pew Charitable Trusts to Senator Sanders). The U.S. government would not be able to enforce DSCSA requirements as to foreign manufacturers, wholesalers, or dispensers. In addition, there is no way to verify that foreign sellers are buying only from FDA-registered foreign facilities. There is great profit potential for bad actors to purchase from illegal sources and sell to the U.S. market, thus threatening the health of our nation’s consumers.

“While ensuring access to affordable prescription drugs is a goal shared by all, prescription drug importation is too risky,” said NCL Health Policy Director Karin Bolte. As former FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf has stated: “Authorizing importation would compromise the closed drug distribution system in the United States and undermine these [safety] laws, thus making it easier for unapproved drugs, which may include counterfeit or other substandard drugs, to reach American patients putting their treatment at risk. FDA is concerned that the risks of unapproved products from foreign sources outweigh any potential cost savings.”

“The National Consumers League urges Congress to reject prescription drug importation proposals and find other ways to ensure consumer access to the safe, effective, and affordable drugs they need to maintain their health,” said Bolte.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

National Consumers League statement on House Passage of the American Health Care Act – National Consumers League

May 4, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang,, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The following statement can be attributed to National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

By voting today to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the U.S. House of Representatives has shown callous disregard for the health of our nation’s consumers. This bill will result in millions of consumers losing health coverage and paying more for less, and should be rejected by the Senate.

Specifically, among its provisions, the bill would:

  • Cause 24 million Americans to lose their health coverage by 2020;
  • Strip protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions, allowing insurers to charge those with pre-existing conditions higher – and likely unaffordable – premiums;
  • Allow states to eliminate guaranteed coverage of essential health benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health services;
  • Defund Planned Parenthood, on which millions rely for access to family planning and critical preventive services such as cancer screenings; and
  • End Medicaid as we know it, harming our nation’s most vulnerable consumers.

The National Consumers League joins with our colleagues in the consumer and public health communities in urging the Senate to reject this harmful bill and instead work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit