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PHARMA: Even the WSJ concedes the importation debate is lost

The Republican retreat on the re-importation bill continues. All stuff I’ve posted on before, including leading communist Chuck Grassley (R-Nebraska) introducing a bill to get the FDA to certify certain Canadian pharmacies and Tommy Thompson running his mock show trials explaining why despite everything they’ve said the Administration is going to back don on this. I don’t like linking to the WSJ too much as many of you aren’t subscribers, but in this case the BCBS Association has a pretty good summary:

    According to the Journal, the drug industry “can’t even be sure of continued opposition to drug imports from the Bush administration,” which has appointed a task force to study how to reimport drugs safely as part of the new Medicare law (Wall Street Journal, 4/13) . . . According to the Journal, the early deadline for the results of the study “has the industry braced for the possibility that the administration might propose a limited experiment with imports before the election.” An unnamed lobbyist for the drug industry said, “There’s this huge tidal wave. I think it’s just getting harder and harder even for people that have some sense to hold off this terrible crashing wave.”

This is pretty upsetting for the industry given that, as the Center for Public Integrity (a great resource that both political parties hate equally) reports, it gave over $11m to the Republican National Committee in the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, and spent more than $1 billion on lobbying in the past decade.

That’s not of course going to stop the industry’s shills, in this case the Galen Institute, telling you that Canadian imports will kill you and everyone in your town. Who are the Galen folks (apart from being on the nutty end of the Libertarian spectrum, and believing that government intervention is always a bad idea unless it involves enforcing dubious patent extensions)? Well their fellow travelers are noted in this document, and they include people from Heritage, the AEI, the Pacific Research Institute, Cato and of course everyone’s favorite academic Mark Pauly–he of the belief that the individual insurance market works well for the 80% of the people who don’t need it. I bet you a nickel that the pharma industry is a healthy contributor to Galen. And as I’ve posted before, this is all so unnecessary. The amount of political heat the industry is taking and will take far exceeds the small amount–around $1 billion out of a more than $200 billion market–they are losing to imports.

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