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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Rx for Stupidity 

Congress is yet again thinking about passing legislation to allow drug reimportation from Canada, and other countries. Lower prescription prices is a Very Good Thing, and necessary to help control the ridiculous costs of health care in the US.

HOWEVER. The key word here is "reimportation". Meaning, drugs that were exported in the first place. Why would goods, having been exported (and presumably subject to tariffs, taxes, and transport fees) be cheaper to reimport (i.e., subject to more taxes, tariffs and transport fees) than just to buy direct without the shipping and handling?? I don't know the real answer, but my guess is it has something to do with a complete lack of regulation in the US. Reimportation isn't a solution, it's at best a short-term delay. We need to find out why the drugs are so much more expensive here in the first place, and address that. But what? That would mean that our leaders would have to stop sucking Merck/Pfizer/etc.'s collective dicks and DO SOMETHING?!?!?!?! Nevermind then.

Another way to reduce prices is to promote competition. Later this month, the Medicare website will publish a list of comparative Rx prices, designed to inform consumers so that they can drive competition between suppliers.
And this is predicted to be effective based on what, exactly? American consumers (particularly the sick and elderly) are not known for their ability to really analyze information as well as one might hope. And I'm pretty sure that's precisely what the administration wants: they can say "look what we did to help you" while knowing it won't actually be used to any significant detriment to Big Pharma.

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