To the Editor:
Like most of President Trump’s policy-by-tweet, his latest proposal to allow the importation of drugs from Canada lacks serious forethought. To begin with, Canada imports much of its drug supply from the U.S. Additionally, the national supply is sized for the Canadian market—approximately 36 million people. As the U.S. is nearly 10 times larger at 327 million people, it stands to reason that sufficient quantities simply aren’t available.
From all reports, it appears that Mr. Trump reached his epiphany after hearing that Bernie Sanders accompanied a group of diabetes patients on a trip from Michigan to Windsor, Canada ahead of the recent Democratic debates. On this trip, Mr. Sanders stated, “Two-hundred-forty dollars in Michigan for this vial, $24 in Canada,” referring to the cost of a dose of insulin. He concluded by saying, “The American people are going to have to be thinking long and hard about the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and the corruption and price-fixing which is going on in the United States.”
Given the shellacking Republicans took in the 2018 midterms due to Mr. Trump’s efforts to strip away health care, it’s understandable that he might be scrambling for answers. However, what the President should be doing is asking why this disparity exists. The answer, of course, is simple—REGULATION! Under Canada’s drug-licensing program, pharmaceutical companies agree to sell medications at a fixed price and to guarantee supply, otherwise they cannot do business.
This is the evil “socialism” Trump supporters fear and rail against. They prefer laissez-faire capitalism, whereby producers are allowed to charge whatever the market will bear (which is quite a lot when you’re ill). Isn’t it ironic that their man now looks to our socialist neighbor for solutions?
Retired 28 year DOT Employee
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