Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Charles R. Earl, M.A., ABD
CEO, Communication Connections

One of the elements of President Obama’s Healthcare proposal for the 2010 budget allows for the importation of foreign-made drugs. The supporters claim that off shore sources can provide top-notch pharmaceuticals at prices significantly lower than are available from domestic manufacturers. I have lived a large portion of my life in the Toledo, Ohio area and can recall with clarity the senior citizen bus trips to Canada for the purpose of purchasing lower cost meds. I do not know, however, if the effectiveness of those medications was, at the very least, comparable to those available from US-based sources. If quality can be guaranteed, and if patients and physicians can have absolute confidence in the purity and the efficacy of the drugs, then importation could be a good thing. But…

Most off-shore nations subsidize their pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution. Will they continue to do so for those meds that are shipped to the United States? Perhaps they may. The Airbus competes with Boeing in the commercial aviation market, and Airbus is highly subsidized by the EU. On the other hand, with exponentially growing demands of their healthcare systems, these nation states may decide that they cannot afford to underwrite a portion of the US system.

In my personal view, people often give the government too much credit for compassion, competence and brains. With the golden ring of universal healthcare within his grasp, the President and his minions have factored in offshore med prices for Medicaid, Medicare, VA and the general population. They sell the concept with compassion, but manage the system like some massive, cold-hearted HMO. Although I am not privy to their formulating the healthcare (634B) portion of the budget, I surmise that they have not calculated for the potential removal of the offshore subsidies or for the possibility that quality control will be seriously compromised. The government is looking only at the buck that they might save. It is a similar attitude that they accuse domestic manufacturers of harboring.

So, regarding importation: domestic manufacturers should be in the room when the plan is implemented, and strict, unyielding safety measures should be utilized to protect the integrity of the drugs. I fear that my beloved Uncle Sam will promise and legislate goodies, but will not follow through on safety. Same old crap.

Now, about deportation. It’s a difficult problem.

And levitation: an uplifting subject whose interest is rising.

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