Feb-2018Past Articles

The Promise of Cheaper Prescriptions

By: Matt Issent

In the 2018 State of the Union address, President Donald J. Trump stated, “One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.” Followed by an applause and, “In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. And it’s very, very unfair. That is why I’ve directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of my top priorities for the year.”

Will President Trump and his administration be able to rally the Republican majority controlled House and Senate to pass sensible legislation that
would allow for the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada or allow for the creation of a centralized drug buying organization or agency? The US pays 3 to 6 times the price of common prescription drugs that Canada does. This is not a mistake made by major pharmaceutical
companies; they buy our politicians to vote against legislation that would reduce the prices of prescription drugs and lobby against the creation of a government agency or organization that would allow for a centralized drug buying system similar to Canada’s that would allow for cheaper drug prices through bulk purchasing.

This notion of importing prescription drugs from Canada, a NAFTA country, was proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I) less than a year ago. Big Pharma utilize trade organizations like PhRMA and claim that the drugs imported from Canada, safe and made to the same standards as their American counterparts, “would exacerbate threats to public health from counterfeit, adulterated or diverted medicines, and increase the burden on law enforcement to prevent unregulated medicines and other dangerous products from harming consumers,” claimed Nicole Longo, PhRMA spokeswoman.

After all we have all heard countless and persistent news reports of tainted, faulty or otherwise harmful drugs that exist within the Canadian prescription drug market, right? …No? Me either!

The truth of the matter is that we import countless consumable products from every edge of the world every day and more likely than not you are consuming products that were either made abroad or contain ingredients that were sourced from foreign countries.

When Bernie Sanders was asked if the medicines imported from Canada could be harmful for the American market he responded, “If we can import vegetables and fish and poultry and beef from all corners of the Earth, please don’t tell me that we cannot bring in, from Canada and other major countries, name brand prescription drugs of some of the largest corporations in the world,”

Canada is able to get lower drug prices from manufactures due to their ability to negotiate as a whole nation through centralized buying rather than as individual insurance companies like in the United States. Allowing for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada could reduce drug prices in the United States but will not allow the United States the ability to negotiate with drug manufactures as Canada does. Only a centralized buying system like Canada’s and other nations will allow for the United States government to negotiate drug prices with manufactures and truly guarantee lower drug prices for the American citizens.

The President, his administration, and members of Congress have 11 months left to make good on the president’s promise and once and for all provide American’s affordable prescription drugs. They face an uphill battle with Big Pharma fighting against them to keep the American public
paying the most in the world for medication, while we had the best doctors, researchers, and medical professionals in the world.


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