The Latest Senate Debate on Drug Reimportation: The Outcome Could Kill You

J.D. Foster /

Timmy: Mommy, where does the new drug I’m taking for my Leukemia come from?
Mother: It comes from a drug company.

Timmy: But why does the drug company make it? They don’t know me.
Mother: Well, partly they make drugs because they help people – the people who work for these companies have kids, too. But mostly they make the drugs because they make money. That’s what they do, just like Daddy when he takes care of patients at the hospital and I do in my office at home.

Timmy: But where does the drug really come from?
Mother: Drug companies spend years doing research into what works and what doesn’t. It costs a lot of money, and they get their money back when the drug works and we buy it.

Timmy: But what would happen if the company didn’t make enough money?
Mother: Then the company would stop doing research and we wouldn’t have any new drugs like the one you’re receiving right now.

Timmy: I think I understand.

If Little Timmy gets it, why can’t Senators? A bi-partisan group of Senators are trying, once again, to allow drug imports from Canada.

But here’s the problem. Canada, like Europe has strict drug price controls, which means Canadian drug prices are generally- but artificially- lower than in the United States. (This means, of course, that American consumers get to bear all the research costs that go into developing new drugs, but that’s another story.)

If drugs are re-imported from Canada, lower drug costs will likely follow as advertised. But so will a halt to most research into new drugs. No new research, no new and better drugs. No more effective, more targeted treatments for cancer, no new antibiotics, no new treatments for AIDS.

But this might not be a problem for you. You might be lucky. If you’re sure neither you nor your family nor anyone you care about is going to need these new drugs, then you should support re-importing drugs. Otherwise, you should ask the supporters of re-importation why they want to kill you.

For more on the dangers of drug reimportation see:

Time to Stop Drug Reimportation

Beginning of the End of Drug Re-Importation

Why Drug Reimportation Is Bad Policy

Debunking the Myths of Drug Importation