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From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,talk.politics.medicine,,
Subject: Re: Disappointed and confused--don't know what to do
Date: 28 Apr 1999 08:26:05 GMT

In <> (Richard M. Poniarski, MD) writes:

>	Very well said. One thing that was missed, however, is how much
>money we now spend on prescription drugs. That is becoming one of the
>most expensive parts of our healthcare system. Why? Because in a free
>market the pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever they want...they
>do not have any "regulation", as you note so well happens with doctors.
>What used to cost pennies a pill now can cost a fortune. And yet I don't
>see anyone complaining about that...
>Richard M. Poniarski, MD
>Member ASAM, AAAP
>"If you have to ask..."

     They complain about it but there's nothing they can do about it.
Pharmaceutical companies are merely recouping their regulatory costs.
Their costs to make the drug itself are often small, and the marginal
cost is such that the same drugs sold in the US for big bucks are often
sold in other countries for a few cents on the dollar.  Companies can
do this because drugs sold across the border can't easily get back in,
due to those tight import/export restrictions.  So it's basically your
goverment that does this TO you.  First by hiking cost of research,
then by allowing the US company to sell at differential rates in this
market, so that US citizens pay for research that other people benefit

     This could be fixed by simply opening the borders to free trade in
non-controlled substances (save antibiotics), and make them available
without prescription.  Then it wouldn't do any good for companies to
sell high in the US and low elsewhere, because the drugs that went out
for low prices would just come right back to undersell the same drugs
here.  That would force people everywhere who buy US drugs to pay the
US regulatory burden.  Drug companies would pretty soon start to get
driven out of the world market and would have to so something about the
regulatory burden.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

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