Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

A Proposal On Drugs

The latest effort on John F. Kerry's part emulate Jolly St. Nick involves a really dopey attempt to push more drugs. He wants to reimport them from Canada. Like many policy positions of The So-Called Democratic Party, it sounds really brilliant if you believe in a free lunch. Where it becomes a bad idea, is when it is applied to the real world.

Every year the Canadian Government 'negotiates' with US drug companies to buy a whole bunch of perscription drugs at a much lower price than American consumers pay for them. I put the word negotiate in quotes because the Canadian Governemnt negotiates these prices in much the same manner that the 4th Infantry Division negotiated the surrender of Saddam Hussein to Coalition Forces in Iraq. They intimidate these companies through a simple and aggressive strategy.

The Canadian government tells these companies that they will not respect US drug patents unless they give the Canadians the drugs at price their government deems as fair. Again, on the surface, this appears to be no big deal. It's a very big deal when the process by which a US drug company gets a patent is examined.

The US Government demands extensive research before prescription drugs receive a patent. This process can take as long as twenty years and cost a young fortune in R&D money. The positive result of this process is that US patients can go to a doctor and more likely than not get a safe remedy for most of the things that could possibly ail them.

However, like all with all government regulations, you don't get something for nothing. The drug company has to recover this massive R&D expenditure or go under from the cost. Therefore Americans pay a massive premium on the per pill manufacture costs of most prescription drugs. By conveniently ignoring the research costs associated with curing medical maladies, Kerry makes a slick and nubile case that the average American consumer takes a dishonest hiding from evil drug manufacturers every time we fill our prescriptions.

Thus, he plants the axiom that Christmas arrives a few months early if he can reimport these drugs at Canadian prices and stiff Merck and Pfizer out of their R&D costs. In responses to this buncomb scheme, the drug companies have two options.

a) The companies refuse to sell jack to Canada. This works until Canada rebukes our patents and starts ripping off our chemical formulas to build their own pharmacuetical stocks.

b) American drug companies can stop trying to cure AIDS and cancer and become yet another consortium of industry where the company HQ is a colonial brick building in Delaware and the factories are staffed by workers who speak Spanish or Chinese.

Kerry runs headlong into the paradox of the modern state. Yes, government can take actions that vastly improve the lot of the common man. No, government cannot take those actions free of cost. Somebody has to pay the cost of developing safe and effective 'miracle drugs'. Exacerbating the free rider problem created by the machinations of Canadian bureaucrats will only cause irreperable damage to America's scientific community.

John F. Kerry is a profoundly intelligent man with a broad range of governmental experience. In other words, he's not stupid on this issue, he's blatantly dishonest. Far too dishonest to be classified as anything other than unfit for command.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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