The Anti-Pharma Crowd Is Anti-Growth

  • by: |
  • 01/18/2008
I have a lot of respect for John McCain but I wonder about what Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic praised and referred to as his "contempt for drug companies."

His contempt is getting in the way of clear thinking and good policy. And at time when we will need all the high paying, green jobs we can get, McCain's stance on pharmaceutical innovation -- where most of those jobs will be created worldwide -- is downright regressive and is at odds with his claim to be a pro growth Republican. If there has been a Republican, nay a member of Congress, with more pronounced and persistent antipathy to the pharmaceutical or biotech industry than John McCain, I can't think of one with the exception of New York’s two senator’s Charles Schumer or Hillary Clinton.

If he took the same position on the auto or housing industry he has on pharmaceuticals and biotech, he would shove the nation into an instant depression.

His contempt has been on display throughout the campaign, most notably in the New Hampshire debate when he call them "the bad guys". Why? From the straight talk express we never seem to get a straight answer. Seems to be related to his belief that drug companies inflate drug costs at government expense and artificial monopolies.

If drug costs reflects value, fine," "But if there are ways to bring greater competition to our drug markets by safe re-importation of drugs, by faster introduction of generic drugs, or by any other means we should do so. If I'm elected President, we will."

McCain has said: Problems with costs are created when market forces are replaced by government regulated prices.."

Yet he has aggressively pushed importation of drugs from foreign countries where "market forces are replaced by government regulated prices." And his legislation would force drug companies to sell as much of their price controlled product that is made to foreign spec -- not US spec -- as distributors would order and then would force the FDA to approve it instantly as safe and effective for the US market. Imagine forcing car, timber, building product, and steel companies to do the same! Meanwhile, Canada is the transhipment point for drugs from Iran, Pakistan, China, Venezuela..all our friends. The ultimate destination. America. McCain has no problem with letting Canada's lax importation policy stand as a surrogate for our drug and homeland security.

What are the “other means?” McCain voted for price controls and government run drug formularies for Medicare, especially when an HMO wanted to save money and pass it on to the government. This approach is used at the VA to restrict access to newer drugs and has actually shortened the lives of veterans. If imposed on Medicare and Medicaid it would mean seniors and the poor would be the last to the get what newer medicines are developed, if any are left.

Meanwhile according to a study by the Milken Institute, the biotechnology industry generated more than 2.7 million jobs and $172 billion in real output in 2003. The average income of each “green: job? $60000 plus benefits. But leave it to McCain to be the sponsor of a bill this coming session of Congress that would give overseas generic drug firms an incentive to sue new biotech firms for their patents before they expire in order to create “competition.”

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

Blog Roll

Alliance for Patient Access Alternative Health Practice
Better Health
Biotech Blog
CA Medicine man
Cafe Pharma
Campaign for Modern Medicines
Carlat Psychiatry Blog
Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look
Conservative's Forum
Club For Growth
Diabetes Mine
Disruptive Women
Doctors For Patient Care
Dr. Gov
Drug Channels
DTC Perspectives
Envisioning 2.0
FDA Law Blog
Fierce Pharma
Fresh Air Fund
Furious Seasons
Gel Health News
Hands Off My Health
Health Business Blog
Health Care BS
Health Care for All
Healthy Skepticism
Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma
Hugh Hewitt
In the Pipeline
In Vivo
Internet Drug News
Jaz'd Healthcare
Jaz'd Pharmaceutical Industry
Jim Edwards' NRx
Kaus Files
Laffer Health Care Report
Little Green Footballs
Med Buzz
Media Research Center
More than Medicine
National Review
Neuroethics & Law
Nurses For Reform
Nurses For Reform Blog
Opinion Journal
Orange Book
Peter Rost
Pharm Aid
Pharma Blog Review
Pharma Blogsphere
Pharma Marketing Blog
Pharmacology Corner
Pharmaceutical Business Review
Piper Report
Prescription for a Cure
Public Plan Facts
Real Clear Politics
Shark Report
Shearlings Got Plowed
Taking Back America
Terra Sigillata
The Cycle
The Catalyst
The Lonely Conservative
Town Hall
Washington Monthly
World of DTC Marketing
WSJ Health Blog