Getting to Know Jeffrey Poirier, Director of the PharmacyChecker Verification Program
New Hampshire licensed pharmacist Jeffrey Poirier has had a long, impressive career in various health care settings. Now, he takes on leading the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, through which online pharmacies, international and domestic, are assessed for compliance with high accreditation standards. Poirier, who has helped many large organizations achieve improved regulatory compliance, is ready to uphold the safety standards of PharmacyChecker to better serve both American patients struggling to afford domestic drug prices and patients worldwide looking to simply access a particular medication through importation. I asked Jeff a few questions regarding access to affordable prescription drugs and why he’s excited to dive into the valuable work of PharmacyChecker.
Q: As people discover on PharmacyChecker’s website, pharmacy prices are much lower outside the United States. Technically, U.S. federal law restricts personally importing prescription medications, but the FDA never prosecutes individual patients for the practice. It puts Americans in a bind in their decision whether or not to import, especially for those who cannot afford a drug domestically. Do you believe that Americans should be able to order/import prescription medication from licensed pharmacies in other countries?
A: Absolutely. American consumers pay more for healthcare per capita than anywhere else in the world. Where else would a family of four pay over $1,500 per month for a product (health insurance) and have no influence over the value of that product? Our healthcare system is designed to shut out competition and create large profits through a system of kickbacks and exclusivity. I don’t believe that purchasing medications from other countries is the ultimate answer to our healthcare dilemma, however, it offers consumers a lifeline when they can’t afford drugs domestically. The tides must change and the customer must get back in the driver seat for us to move to a more equitable system. PharmacyChecker has the unique ability to provide guidance for consumers in their decisions to purchase medications from other countries while highlighting the inequities of our healthcare system at the same time.
Do you believe that online pharmacies meeting PharmacyChecker.com’s standards are safe options for people seeking lower-cost medication over the Internet?
The PharmacyChecker Verification Program was created to verify online pharmacies for licensure and other safety credentials. It has developed a niche in evaluating international pharmacy practice and accrediting those that operate safely.
The same, safe and effective drugs are manufactured globally and sold in many countries -- not just in the U.S. The safe distribution of pharmaceuticals is a high priority in many countries as well. At the same time, the threats from substandard and counterfeit drugs and from rogue online pharmacies that sell them are real. Pharmacy rules and regulations are similar in many countries, less stringent in others, and weak yet in others. This maze of regulations and oversight can be daunting for the consumer trying to navigate the Internet for affordable medicines. Neither the government nor the pharmaceutical industry is willing to help. Having a resource like PharmacyChecker is an excellent way for consumers to find safer online pharmacy options and avoid sites that are not in their best interests. A dedicated team, following a standardized process to validate these sites, can provide the security needed to keep the customer safe from rogue operators.
What are your primary goals in joining the PharmacyChecker team?
My main goal is to engage in continuous quality improvement and organization of the online pharmacy verification program standards and audit procedures to better serve patients in the U.S. and worldwide who can benefit from the pharmacy verification and drug price information we provide.
To truly make a positive change to our current healthcare system, it will take bold leaders who are able to adapt quickly to changing environments and accept criticism from opponents, such as those funded by pharmaceutical and pharmacy interests who profit most from the status quo. These types of challenges have driven me throughout my career, and I am very excited about the possibility to achieve positive change on a very large scale through the empowerment of the consumer.
Leading the PharmacyChecker Verification Program truly excites me, and I feel confident I can contribute to PharmacyChecker’s vision of access to affordable medication.