Andrew Sullivan notes that the kind of policies now being recommended for the US to lower drug prices–having government bargain through Medicare or allowing reimportation of drugs from Canada–carry a cost. He quotes Dow Jones on a report from Bain & Co.:

“Europe has lost out in four ways: The number of new drug targets launched in Europe has almost halved to 44 between 1998-2002 from 81 between 1993-97, top R&D jobs have flooded to America, European drug companies have moved research centers abroad, and Europeans now have to wait 33% longer to get new treatments than patients in America. For example, Bain claims Germany saved $19 billion by spending less than America on healthcare in 2002, but lost $22 billion in reduced R&D investment and drug innovations, lost wages from high added-value jobs, disappearing R&D centers, and poor health.”

Self-interest is the reason drug companies exist in the first place; there would be no drugs at all were it not for their pursuit of their self-interest, and freedom means recognizing the right of producers to what they produce. It’s no surprise that trying to sacrifice producers on the altar of need will have such destructive effects.

Voice of Capitalism

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