Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Like Cheaper Drugs)

Canadians pay less for pharmaceuticals than we do.  They can negotiate for lower prices from the pharmaceutical companies, and they do, and import American drugs for less money than we Americans pay.

Last night the United States Senate had a vote on the re-importation from Canada of drugs at lower prices, which would help a lot of people out who can’t afford their medicines now and also would create a two tier system that would break down Big Pharma’s non-competition scheme and force a show down.  Ultimately all Americans should pay those lower prices too.

Big Pharma’s bogus rationale is that those high American prices pay for their research and development. This is a lie and a very hard one to swallow (even with a spoonful of sugar) when the CEOs of those companies earn tens of millions and fly around in corporate jets and these companies spend hundreds of millions in lobbying, marketing and advertising. Very often that research and development they speak of is paid for by American tax dollars and then the findings are turned over to private companies who over charge us for the medicines developed.  That’s double taxation, baby.

Here’s the real rub:  we could have taken a bi-partisan step forward to lower drug prices for Americans last night.  But it was defeated 46-52.  Twelve Republican Senators supported the amendment!  But thirteen Democrats voted against it, including my two Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez.  Their offices must be called to wag a verbal finger at them.  These people have to be put on the record for this.  They have to be made to answer why they voted “no.”

  • Bennet (D-CO)
  • Booker (D-NJ)
  • Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Carper (D-DE)
  • Casey (D-PA)
  • Coons (D-DE)
  • Donnelly (D-IN)
  • Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Murray (D-WA)
  • Tester (D-MT)
  • Warner (D-VA)

Having the pharmaceutical companies here in the Great Garden State are a mixed bag.  I pay lower property taxes where I live because of the concentration of companies in my neighborhood.  However, my Senators, well meaning as they may be on other issues are perpetually in the pockets of those same companies.

It is a shame.  I’ll let you know how my phone calls to their offices go.

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