Progress On Drug Prices: But We Are Doing It Bass Ackwards

The Trump regime is moving forward with regulations to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Americans. But instead of taking the bull by the horns, they are willing to play games with importing drugs from other countries. I mean, just negotiate drug prices for crying out loud. Or limit drug costs and drug company profits. That’s the easiest and most direct means to get the job done. But no…instead we need to find the most arcane method possible and muck with the health care economies of our allies. America First?

The Trump administration, eager to show progress on prescription drug costs, on Wednesday moved forward with its plan to allow Americans to safely and legally get access to lower-priced medicines from abroad.

In Washington, U.S. health officials unveiled a proposed regulation that would allow states to import many brand name drugs from Canada, with federal oversight. A second draft plan would let pharmaceutical companies seek approval to import their own drugs, from any country.

It’s unclear if either pathway will be available to patients ahead of the 2020 election, although the Trump administration has advanced beyond its predecessors in trying to set up a supervised system for importing drugs. Medicines cost less in other advanced countries because the governments take an active role in setting prices.

emphasis mine

Ok, I highlighted two sentences from the article. Let’s start with the second one. If it is apparent to EVERYONE that drug prices are less in other nations because there is active government regulation on drug prices…why wouldn’t we decide to follow their example instead of importing their drugs? Really? And then of course we have to add on shipping costs and what have we gained that we couldn’t accomplish by just taking care of business here at home? Really!

What a wishy washy attempt to save face.

Now that first line…allow drug companies to import their own medications from countries where it’s cheaper? This is so totally insane that it is beyond belief that anyone has written this article and printed it without laughing out loud. Go back a paragraph: drug prices are cheaper elsewhere because of government intervention. Do you really think a drug company in the US will import it’s own price controlled product from another country to resell it on the US? Chances are the drugs are already manufactured in low cost countries and imported here and sold at high prices because there is nothing to prevent it. Insanity.

Or worse, if drugs are being subsidized in other nations as part of their cost containment strategy, then we are essentially stealing THEIR health care dollars. In a similar vein:

Canada’s health ministry said in a statement Wednesday its first priority is to protect the supply of medicines for Canadians. “We share the goal of ensuring people can get and afford the medication they need,” said spokesman Thierry Belair. “But these (Trump administration) measures will not have any significant impact on prices or access for Americans. We remain firmly focused on ensuring Canadians can access the medication they need.”

I don’t know if importing en masse from Canada will lower prices here or not…but I have no doubt it could harm the supply chain in any nation where we use as a new import source.

But meanwhile, across the Capitol:

Pelosi spokesman Henry Connelly scoffed at the Trump administration’s import plan, noting it has no implementation deadline.

“If President Trump actually wants to lower drug prices, he should pick up the phone and tell (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell to send him the House-passed ‘Lower Drug Costs Now Act,’ which provides the negotiations he promised the American people,” Connelly said in a statement.

Or in case of President Trump…just tweet it to Sen. McConnell! I am sure that he will see it.

btw: the President’s proposals don’t include insulin which has been one of the drugs with some of the highest price increases lately which has become a growing concern.

Insulin, biologic drugs, narcotics and certain other medications would be excluded, at least initially.

And the House bill?

One of the most significant bills…lately could be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s package to limit the cost of prescription drugs. Though it cleared the House with just two Republican backers last week, the bill has generated excitement and maybe even hope in the Capitol that lawmakers can deliver on soaring insulin and out of pocket costs before the 2020 election.

emphasis mine

Let’s handle our own issues at home!


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