Sen. Bernie Sanders attracted voters by supporting drug importation. At first glance, it sounds like a way to increase competition and thereby reduce prices.
Alas, when can you count on a socialist to get free market reforms right?
A recent letter to congress from a coalition of conservative and free market think tanks and advocacy groups lays out some of the problems with allowing the importation of prescription drugs into this country:
- R&D funds will be decreased, and thus discourage innovation.
- lack of FDA oversight would raise safety concerns -- the imported drugs could even be counterfeit.
- this is not really an issue of free trade, because the drugs that would be imported are subject to artificial price barriers in the countries from which they'd be imported. To the contrary, it's the opposite of free trade.
- the way to safely lower prescription drug costs for Americans is to cut regulations and increase competition here.