Saturday, August 27, 2005

Drug Reimportation

Mechanic's Tale: Will we end up with MediCar?

The column is about auto repair, but this is great stuff:

There is a similar analogy in the public discourse right now and it is called drug re-importation. Because of foolish treaties that our government signed, the patents on drugs are not protected in other nations. Any nation can declare an emergency and simply start making an American-patented drug. Since foreign nations know this, and the drug makers know this, the drug companies are likely to sign deals to make whatever minuscule amount they can, while making their real profits in the home market.

The public and Congress (who signed the stupid treaties in the name of humanity, assuming that something as vital as medicine is immune from ordinary supply and demand laws) see foreign countries getting our drugs much cheaper than we do and want to re-import drugs to save money. The drug companies (like the auto repair guys), instead of attacking the foolish treaties and insisting that our government vigorously defend their patents overseas, which would bring down our prices as the foreigners paid more, babble about quality and counterfeiting, which may or may not be real issues.

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