Alex's Outlook

Friday, July 25, 2003

Reimportation

The Republican House leadership bought Jo Ann Emerson's vote for the prescription drug bill a couple weeks ago by guaranteeing her a vote on prescription drug re-importation (basically price caps on all prescription/Rx drugs). They lost in a 243-186 vote.

That isn't the end of the story, though. Drug makers make their profits in the US because the US is the only country that doesn't cap prices on drugs. By allowing re-importation of drugs from countries that DO cap prices (like Canada), Congress is effectively capping the price of Rx drugs. (The bill will breeze through the more liberal Senate, if it hasn't already.) But who sells drugs to the countries capping drug prices? American pharmaceutical companies. Rather than letting Congress let Canadians let Americans steal from them, Rx drug companies will simply stop selling their drugs in Canada, and anywhere else from which drugs are reimported. That is, unless Americans decide to quit buying Rx drugs in Canada, even though they're *much* cheaper there.

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