Free Minds & Free Markets

Trump's Prescription Drug Price Controls Would Save Us Money. They Would Also Make Us Sicker.

DrugPricesJmmcclung81DreamstimeJmmcclung81/Dreamstime"One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs," declared President Donald Trump during his State of the Union address tonight. He added, "In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down."

The president is reprising his claims in his first post-election press conference last year. Last January, President Trump declared that pharmaceutical companies are "getting away with murder" by pricing their drugs too high. "Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, and a lot of power. And there's very little bidding on drugs," Trump said in January. "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly."

The president is right that drugs often cost far less in other countries than they do here. Why? Two words: Price controls. Basically, the government health care systems in other countries simply tell pharmaceutical companies what they will pay for their drugs. Drug companies put up with price controls in other countries because they can still make money because the controlled prices still cover the costs of making the marginal pill. Consequently, paying for the global costs of research and development for new drugs is made up by charging Americans higher unregulated prices.

Drug price controls would indeed save the government and consumers money, but at the cost of shorter and sicker lives. As I reported earlier:

A 2013 study by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, ...calculated that drug price controls could save Medicare between $24.8 and $58.3 billion annually. On the other hand, less revenue to pharmaceutical companies means less money devoted to research and development. A separate study, published in Managerial and Decision Economics in 2007, estimated that cutting prices by 40 to 50 percent in the U.S. will lead to between 30 and 60 percent fewer R&D projects being undertaken. Reduced investments in pharmaceutical R&D consequently results in reduced numbers of new drugs becoming available to patients. A 2009 study in Health Affairs calculated that as a result of fewer innovative pharmaceuticals being developed, average American life expectancy in 2060 would be around 2 years lower than it would otherwise have been.

Over at STAT, Robert J. Easton, co-chairman of the medical business consultancy Bionest Partners, cogently explains:

If U.S. drug prices come under bureaucratic control, as they have in most of Europe and Japan, it will be a different story. Little pharmaceutical innovation occurs in price-control jurisdictions. The United States has always, by a large margin, led the world as a source of new drugs, and that lead has widened as Japan and Germany have imposed price controls over the past few decades. All major international pharmaceutical companies, without exception, have instituted R&D and commercial operations in the U.S. to take advantage of its pricing environment.

If price controls pressure the U.S. industry into a more conventional process industry model, like that of the chemical industry, pharmaceutical R&D budgets would be slashed.

We can hope that the president is actually signaling that his administration intends to rev up pharmaceutical price competition. The good news is that Scott Gottlieb, the new head of the Food and Drug Administration intends to increase competition that by hastening the approval of hundreds of generic drugs that have been stuck the agency's approval pipeline. An FDA study has found that as the number of competing manufacturers for a drug goes up, the price falls dramatically. When two companies compete, the price falls an average of just 6 percent; when there are nine competitors, the price drops by an average of 80 percent.

If President Trump and Congress seek to "fix the injustice of high drug prices" by imposing price controls, Americans will save some money now, but at the long-run cost of living sicker and shorter lives. That would be a real injustice.

For more background, see my article, "President Trump: Pharmaceutical Price Controls Are A Bad Idea."

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  • Sevo||

    "America is open for business!" Unless you charge more for a good than Trump likes.
    We got the better of two really bad alternatives, and Trump has turned out better than I imagined, but he remains the better of two really bad alternatives.

  • Don't look at me.||


  • Deven||

    I understand fully the consequences of this proposed action.

    However, Americans ARE getting hosed. I'd like to see Trump focus on the actual problem (these other countries) and not the companies.Though I'm sure the Reason articles would be just as doom and gloom if he tried to use any trade leverage.

    Which might be some insight as to why he is going this route (perception on trade). Making the drug companies renegotiate with these other countries seems like his end game. It may be a slightly more dangerous strategy as far as outcomes, but what else does he have to work with? I notice the constant knee jerk reaction from so-called free trade advocates, but never any alternative solutions other than "suck it up America". We're all aware that free trade is the ultimate economic model, but Americans subsidizing other countries is NOT something to stand up for. It makes free markets and free trade look bad and damages the libertarian brand overall.

  • wnoise||

    Do other countries generally directly control prices, or do they instead use their near-monopsony power as the largest buyer in the pharmaceutical marketplace? Isn't the last one just the operation of the free market?

  • Sevo||

    You call a market where a third party sticks its nose in a transaction between to free agents a "free market"? Especially when the third party has the monopoly on the guns?
    I have a really good deal on the north anchorage of a bridge near me, and a man of your perceptive abilities ought to get in on the ground floor!

  • buybuydandavis||

    Drug patents

  • Consigliere of the Dark Ones||

    From "Canada Proposes to Amend Drug Pricing Regulations":

    Currently, the country's Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) compares Canada's prices with seven other countries, including the US, to determine if it is over-paying. But the proposal would no longer use the US or Switzerland as comparators and would add seven other countries: Australia, Belgium, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Spain.

    They use that data to set the maximum price in Canada.

    The other countries use a similar system.

    It's a big circle jerk.
  • Don't look at me.||

    Don't remember the use of the phrase "price controls" in the speech.

  • Sevo||

    OK, I'm going to hope the article is one of many caused by rampant TDS at Reason.
    I did not watch/listen to the speech, as I have every political speech since Nixon gave his resignation speech and I threw the radio out the window.
    It is within the range of possibilities that he hopes to reduce the costs of meds by reducing the regulations surrounding their development.
    If so, once again I admit the guy is doing better than I ever hoped.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Don't remember the use of the phrase "price controls" in the speech.

    Yea the quote says:

    That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.

    This does not say "price-fixing". I took it to mean (hopefully...) moving toward less gov't interference in the prescription drug market. Time will tell.

  • Tionico||

    Part of the ripoff pricing for drugs in this country is all the stupid regulations and requirements. Pick up a bottle of 30 simple antibiotic pills from a registered pharmacy (AFTER getting fleeced for $135 to $175 to get the doc to scribble) and check out the ten pages of printed claptrap..... mandated by FedGov. Further, the tracking and record keeping mandated. The time the guy in the white lab coat (why can't jhe just wear a noral dress shirt?) MUST spend wasting MY time (at HIS $35/hr wage, twenty other folks waiting THEIR turn) splainin' ta me how to swallow two stupid pills a day, that I've had before and KNOW how to use), there is a price gouge built right in to the system. Further, those guys in white lab coats have to go to high cost schools for years, spending tens of thousands, to learn how to count pills out of a larger bottle? WHY? The DOC is the one scribbles. All these guys do is bottle the pills, slap the labels on, and give me "the talk".

  • Tionico||

    ALL that adds to the COGS..... as if the guy cooking your burger at Mc Donald's has to go slaughter the steer, cut, grind, blend, THEN fry my burger. If those pharmacists MUST get such a sophisticated and costly education, why can't THEY write the scrips? They MUST learn about all the conditions, suitable drugs, side effects, conflicts, contraindicators...... we're paying TWO tiers of high end profissionals to duplicate work, for what? Ehenever I drop the buck to see the doc, I already KNOW what's up and what I need. About ready to start just ehading off to the local farm and feed store and buy the antibiotics "for my goat". Identical drug in identical capsule, almot always packaged on the SAME production line, only stopping to change the label when they switch from human to vet use. Price for human use, five bucks the cap. For the goat, two bits. Is THIS fair or right? Nope.

  • RPGuy16||

    Add in the required trip to the doctor to get a prescription for something that poses little risk and should be freely available over the counter.

  • SunkCost||

    If monopoly rents are the secret to funding innovation, then the FDA hastening the approval of generics is just as damaging as price controls/monopsony power. Both lower the expected future profits of new drugs and thus the incentive for RD. For that matter why not double patent lengths. Hell let's quadruple them and we'll live forever!!! Or you know, we could let Medicare bargain and shunt the federal budget savings to universities where most of that path breaking research is actually occurring.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Rent seeking profits for our corporate overlords!

    Libertarian Moment!

  • Lester224||

    ^^ This. Americans cannot support the entire R&D budgets of drug companies. They have huge profits and will still have huge profits even if we only pay as much for drugs as the rest of the civilized world. Perhaps they need to put a larger percentage of their profits into R&D and less into ADVERTISING to get old people to buy new drugs that are more expensive but no much better than the old ones.

  • chemjeff||

    Am I the only one with a sense of deja vu over the whole prescription drug thing?

    I remember during W's plan to include prescription drug coverage in Medicare, that Democrats wanted the government to buy the drugs directly, in order to "keep prices down". But of course in reality it would be a form of price control, since the government would of course demand absurdly low prices and drug companies would have no choice but to comply, shifting the real cost of the drugs to everyone else. (Just like they do with the rest of Medicare!) Republicans at the time rightly refused. But now, just a mere 15 years later, we have a Republican advocating for the same thing.

  • Kivlor||

    Dude, where have you been? It's been well documented and mocked for over a century that the cuckservatives don't conserve anything, but merely hold the line to prevent any reactionary movement against progressivism.

  • Tionico||

    WHERE did Trump say he was going to have government buy all the pills? You puttin trash tawkin inta his mouf agin?

  • Entelechy||

    When in the name of Big Pharma will Ron's discussion of drug control turn to why we should not be as free to make life-saving drugs as mind-altering ones ?

    Though corporate PR grantsmanship-unfriendly, it's a fairly obvious corollary to dereguating and decriminalizing chemistry sets.

  • buybuydandavis||

    When will a single "libertarian" at Reason come out for the freedom to self treat and self medicate without having to get permission slips from government enabled rent seeking mafias?

  • jerbigge||

    I've been advocating the repeal of prescription laws (passed by FDR in 1938) as the first good step towards allowing people to take care of their own health to the limits of their abilities for well over a decade now. Prior to 1938 people relied more upon their local druggist than their local doctor for a lot of health care issues. The druggist usually didn't charge extra for his services so one only paid for the cost of the medication.

    As long we continue to attempt to cure disease through chemical means, we may well be in the same situation as is NASA with the use of chemical rockets. We landed men on the Moon in 1969. That's 49 years ago. Despite all the tens of billions of dollars, we haven't managed to create anything that much better than what we had back then. It is quite possible that we are right now seeing the limits of "drug technology" with little more to be gained.

    Any major improvement in human life spans will likely require modification of human DNA.

  • RPGuy16||

    Prior to 1938 the druggists were recommending cocaine and heroin as cure-alls for whatever ails you.

  • Vandalia||

    The same argument was made roughly 35 years ago with the announcement of the Supreme Court decision that led to the breakup of AT&T. The loss of the monopoly was projected to (and in fact did) force AT&T to close its vast "Bell Labs" research infrastructure. It was widely reported/projected that the loss of this core corporate R&D infrastructure would dramatically and negatively impact the development of information technology in the United States. It was said that there would be no development of communication technology and that at the turn of the 21st century everyone would still be using the old rotary-dial telephones.

    As I read this on my iPhone, let us just say that this prediction fell fat on its proverbial face. Therefore, there is very good reason to doubt projections that pharmaceutical development will suffer with price controls. This may be true for needless drugs that provide only very marginal benefit at exorbitant cost. However, when it comes to "real" medicines, it is likely that if there are restrictions on "Big Pharma" it will open the door to the formation of smaller, more agile companies that will in fact accelerate pharmaceutical development with less overhead in a manner similar to what we have seen in "silicon valley."

  • markm23||

    Not while the FDA requires 5-10 years of very expensive trials before the drug can go to market. It won't change the costs much to find a better way of discovering the drugs, when testing them takes most of the budget.

    And that's also why drug companies can charge high prices even after the patent expires (in a few case, even raising the price): the FDA requires much of that testing just to sell the same drug produced in a different plant.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Consequently, paying for the global costs of research and development for new drugs is made up by charging Americans higher unregulated prices."

    Why exactly should the US government force US citizens to subsidize drug research for the entire world?

    Rather odd thing for a "libertarian" magazine to promote.

  • Deven||

    Because, according to Reason logic, the best path to free trade is for the US to trade freely and ignore what everyone else does.

    In reality the order goes:

    1. Mutual free trade
    2. One country restricts trade, other country trades freely.
    3. Both countries restrict trade

    Reason does not understand that you need some sort of leverage to move from 2 to 1, since 2 always benefits those who are corrupt and in power (redundant) that make these decisions.

    It is all virtue signalling with Reason nowadays. No answers provided, you just have to know that they are superior to everyone. Dumbasses don't understand that the left has already saturated that market.

  • markm23||

    We don't have free trade in drugs. If an American drug company manufactures a drug and ships it to Mexico for sale at 1/10 the American price, it is illegal to buy it there and bring it back across the border. This is poorly enforced when it comes to travelers bringing in a few bottles of pills, as long as they're clearly not one of the banned recreational drugs. But most Americans don't live near the border, and if Amazon's Mexican branch started taking orders for medicine in English and American dollars and shipping it to the USA, there would be enforcement action.

    That is, the US federal government uses force to help drug companies maintain differential pricing to the disadvantage of Americans who need medicine. That is in addition to requiring drugs and medical devices that have passed stringent testing in other countries to be tested over again for American FDA approval.

    The same is often true the other way - e.g., a Canadian couple who were infected by hookworms on a tropical vacation had to travel to the USA and pay cash for medication - Canada has it's own drug approval process and doesn't accept FDA approvals, making it a money losing proposition for a drug company to sell anything in Canada that would be rarely used. But American consumers of medication would benefit by being able to buy medications and medical devices that were approved by any of the better foreign agencies, whether or not these countries reciprocate.

  • MamaLiberty||

    Some things to consider:
    Most Americans are taking far, far too much "medicine" of all kinds.
    Chemical drugs account for a very large number of the doctor caused deaths, even when "properly prescribed." These deaths and adverse outcomes far outnumber the "overdose" numbers for opioids. (The opioid "crisis" is false, but a subject for a different place and time.)
    The non-voluntary government has no legitimate role in either the production or the price of anything, let alone medicine.

  • Headache||

    You are right. I found the premise of the article dumbfounding. When doctors stop peddling big pharma's goods, all Americans will get healthier and live longer. tReason read the fucking warnings, the cure is worst than the disease!

  • ernieyeball||

    "Chemical drugs"
    All drugs are composed of chemicals.

  • MamaLiberty||

    Technically, yes. But most people understand the difference between "drugs" and naturally occurring products that are useful and, usually, better alternatives.

  • Tionico||

    lawfully prescribed and taken pharmaceuticals cause more deaths in the US annually than all firearms AND cars put together. And no, the "opioid crisis" is not false. Far too many docs prescribe these addictive meds to ease the patient's pain level to tolerable, while NOT dealing with the underlying cause. Meanwhile, non-psychoactive forms of cannabis are being proven VERY effective in dealing with most of the conditions that now lead to opioid prescription. But Big Pharma can't make money on a weed any normal person can grow in their backyard, basement, bathroom, for next to nothing. About the cost of a head of lettuce.

    How's about we get FedGov completely OUT of anything to do with whatever we do/do not put into our bodies? No Constitutional authority is granted FedGov to meddle in that class of activity. THAT would end the high price of drugs in a hurry.

  • MamaLiberty||

    Tionico, I do wish there was some way to discover the underlying problems for all pain issues, but there is not. I've endured chronic, serious pain for the last 50+ years, and I've been to all kinds of doctors. They don't have a clue, and that's after massive $$ spent for testing and so forth. The bottom line is that there must be freedom to experiment and find what products and treatments are best for the individual. Nobody else should have anything to say about it... and nobody else should be forced to pay for it either.

    Yes indeed, I've tried cannabis and found it very helpful. Unfortunately, it is "illegal" where I live. I'd love to get the "governments" at all levels out of my life and pocket.

  • Frank White||

    Problem: US pays more for drugs than other countries, but doesn't allow patients to buy drugs from those cheaper sources.

    Solution: Remove regulations preventing them fr4om doing that.

    Reason: This is bad because those lower prices are due to price controls enforced by those countries. The US pays more because of this. If we allowed US patients to buy at those lower costs, the drug companies can't make up the profits they lose in Europe and Canada from US patients.

    Me: And this is or problem, how? Open the markets up and let the chips fall where they may. Either the drug companies are going to raise prices in Europe and Canada or they're going to make less profits (or both). Either way, the American public is better off not subsidizing socialized healthcare abroad.

  • Mark22||

    The US already has price controls on prescription drugs, namely controls that keep the prices artificially high. Reason is simply arguing against replacing these with lower price controls on the theory that the artificially high drug prices in the US benefit US consumers. It's an absurd argument for any libertarian writers to make.

  • Kivlor||

    I think I've come up with a heuristic for understanding what Reason will advocate for in their articles:

    How will this affect foreigners compared to Americans? If it puts foreigners first, we're for it. If it puts Americans first, we're against it.

  • Mark22||

    Many Reason writers are libertarians in that they like "stateless societies". Unfortunately, their thinking all too often veers in the direction of stateless communism, a hypothetical stateless society in which people are nice to each other and everybody gets as many unicorns as they desire. Actual classical liberalism and libertarianism, unfortunately, can't deliver that.

  • buybuydandavis||


  • ThomasD||

    The easiest and most reliable way for Trump to lower the price of prescription drugs would be to streamline the regulatory process for manufacturing.

    The R&D process is also hugely expensive and inefficient, but that change would only marginally reduce the cost of future drug products. Make it cheaper and easier to produce already approved generic drugs and you could see real saving from increased supplies and increased competition.

  • Kivlor||

    Ron, here's a better Alt-Text for you:

    "Whatever you do my fellow Americans, please don't stop being the world's doormat. We need you to subsidize their bad choices."

  • Cyto||

    One of the motivators for this sort of thing is the lack of transparency in drug pricing.

    If you want to buy pickles, you can easily see the price you'll be paying and you can compare prices across multiple retailers.

    This is not the case with prescription drugs.

    Last month my wife had a prescription to fill. The first offer from Walgreens was $118. She asked about discounts and after looking online they dropped their offer to $56. Dropping it by half, just for the asking?

    Walmart had it for $41. She found an app that finds drug prices and discounts and was able to find the same brand-name drug at Safeway for $15.

    That's a difference of over $100, just in the local area. Can you imagine any other product with a disparity of 80% in pricing? Sure, a 2-liter of soda might be $2 at one grocery and $1 at another, but it isn't going to be $23 at the Circle K.

    Everything about our current system is "the problem". The insurance "group pricing", the lack of transparency, the fact that most people don't know what they are paying because some or all of the cost is folded in to their insurance plan..... it all combines to make a market that lacks transparency, and therefore fails to function properly.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Heck, these days many doctors will directly send your prescription to "your" pharmacy. Just getting that physical scrip so you *can* "price shop" requires you to countermand the "experts".

    The entire medical system, from cradle to grave, is designed so you never see the bill until it's too late.

  • Tionico||

    add in the mandated and useless labour to count, label, document, record, deliver, and tell all about the drug as part of EVERY transaction.. I have felt like a petulant five year old being lectured on why choosing the marshmallow Cheeps is a poorer choice than an apple. ALL this adds to the COGS for that bottle of pills. The SAME pills available at the fish store for my guppies..... and instead of $55 for the ones handed me (along with the "chat) by an overeducated overpaid "professioinal" in a white lab coat, and about $5 for the identical product with a different label available on the shelf for me to pick up and pay for, unidentified, in talked to, right along with a pair of doggie nail clippers....... think THERE might be some places to look for "cost reduction"?

  • daveski99||

    Very nice from a philosophic perspective, until you actually go through with a major illness and pay the price. Many of these drugs are granted monopoly patent protection and at the same time are needed by people that are at risk of dying. That means the drug company can charge anything it wants. Take Neulasta which is marketed on TV and which enjoys no suitable competition for what it does - boosting white blood cells in patients undergoing chemotherapy. This drug has been around a long time and is actually leaving patent protection. Still they Amgen has been lucky in warding off generics to protected nearly $5 billion in yearly profits. Delivered the day after chemo, this subcutaneous shot for my girlfriend was billed at $9,500 a shot. She had 4 rounds so that's $38,000. Of course many people need to go for many more rounds than that. Since she had insurance, Aetna was able to settle this for $2,500 a shot!. Quite a discount, but still murderously high.

    So where is the market here? If you go in without insurance you can be billed more the $10K a shot, while insurance can get away with almost $2K, a 5 times spread. This is not a market and why are there no generics for so lucrative a product?

    We can talk about the Epi-pen where they boosted the price to a nose bleed territory or the change in albuterol inhalers that once cost $5 but after a change to the propellant (Freon free) now cost $50.

    This is not a free market and it needs to be regulated.

  • Mark22||

    So where is the market here? If you go in without insurance you can be billed more the $10K a shot, while insurance can get away with almost $2K, a 5 times spread.

    And the only solution is to turn it into a free market. That is, you either need to pay for these drugs out of pocket, or you need to choose an insurance plan well enough in advance that reflects your risk (and hopefully give you a price signal to take preventive measures/not have kids/whatever).

    And if you do neither, you simply don't get the $10k/$2k a shot treatment, you get the next best treatment, the one people in Europe and other parts of the world have to make due with, the treatment that existed before the drug company decided to invest billions of dollars in return for the promise of patent protection. Because that's all you get if you start fixing prices anyway.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "And the only solution is to turn it into a free market."

    Patents. Licenses to sell. Licenses to treat. Permission slips to buy.

    When you're to end all those, we can talk about a free market in medical care.

    Until then, you're just another enabler of the medical industrial rent seeking mafia.

  • jerbigge||

    It is a "monopoly market" created by the bribing of the most corrupt government of any developed country. The Supreme Court (itself corrupt) simply made it legal to bribe any politician to any amount the briber wished to get whatever they the briber wanted.

    Effectively the drug companies are "blackmailing" the American people and the "paid off" politicians there in D.C. don't give a damn as long as they get their "piece of the action".

  • Azathoth!!||

    I get stuck here--

    The president is right that drugs often cost far less in other countries than they do here. Why? Two words: Price controls. Basically, the government health care systems in other countries simply tell pharmaceutical companies what they will pay for their drugs. Drug companies put up with price controls in other countries because they can still make money because the controlled prices still cover the costs of making the marginal pill. Consequently, paying for the global costs of research and development for new drugs is made up by charging Americans higher unregulated prices

    People in the rest of the world don't actually get cheaper drugs--they get subsidized drugs.

    Subsidized by us.

    Hey, Ron, did you notice Trump's emphasis on trade deals that were fair to us? Deals that were reciprocal? That's the best answer-- either the failing socialized medical systems of the 'developed' world pay market prices for drugs or they don't get them.

    That'll end this fiasco pretty quick.

  • Mark22||

    If President Trump and Congress seek to "fix the injustice of high drug prices" by imposing price controls, Americans will save some money now, but at the long-run cost of living sicker and shorter lives. That would be a real injustice.

    The analysis is based on the simplistic assumption that more and newer drugs actually make people healthier and live longer, something that is just wrong.

    Because of massive market distortions, drug research already does little make us healthier; most drugs are developed either to game the patent system or to treat the symptoms of preventable chronic conditions. And the way drugs are used right now probably makes Americans sicker.

    A better choice would simply be to limit Medicare reimbursements and insurance mandates to generic drugs and even there to remove many drugs from coverage altogether. That takes the patent-gaming incentives out of the system, lowers prices, and makes pharmaceutical companies actually compete on both price and efficacy with new drugs. Of course, it would be unpopular both with pharma lobbies and ill-informed voters who have fallen for the con that "more drugs = healthier, longer lives".

  • ohdelilah||

    Oh, you're going to make poisons like Neurontin cheaper to replace the cheap, generic, effective pain medications that even Libertarians want outlawed? Pardon me if my chronic pain prevents my from jumping with joy.

  • Robert||

    You mean we have to leave more $ in the pot of existing large pharma firms for them to be able to afford R & D? If it's profitable, it'll be profitable for venture capital. If it's not profitable, pharma firms should invest their profits in something else. It doesn't matter who has the $ to invest, what matters is their expected profits.

  • Tionico||

    Get real, Drug companies have something (often multiple somethings) for every imaginable condition. They will NOT end R&D because of lower drug prices.

    Some time back I was in Canada, needed an allergy med. Doc I visited told me to head off to the nearest bargain drug mart and buy a box of Whateveritwas. I wrote it down. That box of 30 caps cost me less than five bucks. It worked far better than any hayfever med I'd ever had, and I'd had plenty. NO side effects (nausea, drowiness, sleep disruption, dehydration, etc). Once that box was gone and I was back in the good ol' USS of A, I looked for that same product. Prescription only. NOW I had to pay $135 to darken a doctor's door, tell him abut that amazing med, he wrote out a scrip and I headed off to the Costco pharm..... ten pills cost me $30, add in the $135 for the doc's scrawled John Hancock, and that five dollar box of pills from Canada was now replaced by $225 out of pocket for the same quantity. WHY? Supid fed regs making it scrip only. WHY?

  • RPGuy16||

    We don't need specific price controls, we just need a law that says that companies can't charge more in the US than they charge in other developed countries. This would end the current situation where US consumers subsidize the rest of the world (and then have to listen to how other health care systems are more efficient than ours) and may well pressure those other countries to roll back their own price controls.

  • Myk||

    We also have a law that was passed but I think never used, if you use tax payer funded research (most of the expensive drugs) if you over charge Congress can pull your patent to create competition.
    We also have the abused orphan drug law drawing out high prices that if used as intended would create competition and lower prices.
    Like gun control we have the laws we just don't use them. Your method would be a good addition.

  • Myk||

    Complete BS. Oh noes! I can only PROFIT $4,000,000,000 instead of $100,000,000,000 off this drug that TAX PAYERS paid for much of the research on??? I'm quitting the business. Said absolutely no drug manufacturer ever, and plenty are under just that type buying power limits in other countries where if you won't sell at the right price you won't sell at all.

    This isn't even getting into the fact of smaller companies buying old drugs and jacking the price up for no other reason than to increase profits.

    More corporate welfare support from a Libertarian on the backs of people, you know, the ones who actually have the rights Libertarians are supposed to be for. Also BS that the US is where new drugs come from, our release rules are too strict for that, we're far behind other countries. By the time drugs come out in the US the rest of the world has been the real world release test (but we can't use that data).

    Price controls tend to end poorly but not for the fear mongering reasons stated here.

  • BambiB||

    Just let Americans buy drugs on the world market. If the same drug is available in Canada at 1/10th the price, only fools buy in America.

    But there's a lot more that could be done to drop the cost of medical care. Citizens should be able to buy whatever drug they want without a prescription. Responsible use is the duty of the consumer - not the government. Doctors would still be able to recommend drugs - but one would no longer need to visit the doctor to get prescriptions for drugs or equipment that is safer than aspirin (like metformin and CPAP gear). Doing just that would save hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The FDA course of testing needs to be tamed. It adds an unconscionable burden to the development of new drugs. That would save many more billions each year.

  • Crymoricus||

    Okay, let's cure everything and let everyone make as many babies as they want at the same time. Make it so everyone lives to 110. That's the ticket!

    Hell, I'm losing my kidneys and have been for the last 2 years. Dialysis is right around the corner. I'm only 48. Guess what? I don't care. I honestly feel like life doesn't have a lot more to offer. My son is grown, my wife will be better off without me financially, and the only reason for me to live anymore is so I can read the next good book, see the next good movie, etc. Oh, and I'm not depressed. In fact, I'm emotionally pretty good! But mainly, I don't fear death. The dying part is a little disconcerting, but I figure it's gonna happen sooner or later anyway. If I live, I'm fine with it. If I die, I'll probably be sad about leaving the people I love. But honestly, this wanting to live forever crap is embarrassing. My mother will probably outlive me, and she's thankful for it. How sad is that?


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