NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA — Expansion of Medicare through prescription drug subsidies, currently in a Congressional conference committee, will deal a serious blow to pharmaceutical research. That’s the claim of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine (AFCM), a non-profit organization which favors capitalism in medicine.

“In addition to discovering and testing drugs, pharmaceutical companies also face enormous administrative costs to obtain FDA approval to put drugs on the market,” Richard E. Ralston, AFCM’s executive director, explained in an op-ed. “If drug firms know that a drug’s price is established by the state–not by patients–there is no interest in discovering, testing and creating new drugs.”

While Ralston said he welcomes the latest effort by some House Republicans, led by Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Toomey, to block the worst ideas in the recently approved Medicare drug bills, Ralston insisted that preserving the world’s highest quality drugs means total opposition to any expansion of Medicare.

“A free market in pharmaceuticals is the only way to insure the flow of new, breakthrough drugs and competitive pricing,” Ralston contended. “Controls on drugs, doctors, and cost will distort the drug market from the science stage to the pricing stage.”

Ralston urged seniors who treasure their independence, including those covered for prescription drugs through employer-based plans, to tell

Congress: “Leave my drugs–which means those who produce them–alone!”

Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, (AFCM), founded in 1993, is the nation’s only educational organization based on individual rights, personal responsibility and free market ideas in medicine.

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