Small Business. Small Minds.

  • by: |
  • 08/15/2007
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has announced its support for the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act (S. 242 / H.R. 380) to permit drug importation.

According to the NFIB, "Importation offers a means of reducing one of the most rapidly rising healthcare costs facing consumers today - spending on prescription drugs.”

Well, actually, the biggest costs to small business – and large business for that matter – are an aging workforce, an antiquated focus on acute care, and insurance premiums. For every dollar spent on health care in the U.S., only 11.5 cents is for prescription drugs. And medicines, properly prescribed, reduce healthcare costs by keeping people healthy, productive – and out of the hospital.

Consider this, from 1998 to 2003; insurance companies increased their premiums by an average of $104.62 per person. During that same time period prescription-drug costs increased by $22.48. What about the other $82.14? That’s a good question. And America deserves an answer.

The NFIB is thinking short term and being sold a false bill of goods. Here’s how …

"Today's NFIB endorsement reflects a clear consensus among America's small businesses that we must no longer pay the world's highest prices for prescription drugs," Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said. The press release continues, stating that NFIB members “recognize overwhelmingly … that competition will help reduce drug costs and make health care more affordable for all Americans.”

Well, that’s a good point. But it depends what you mean by competition. When the rest of the developed world shackles costs via price controls placing almost the entire burden of pharmaceutical R&D costs on the backs of the American healthcare consumer. This is what members of Congress and the NFIB should be up in arms about.

And as far as “dramatically lowering” costs is concerned, the Congressional Budget Office Study has reported that such a program would reduce the drug spend in the US by less than one percent -- and that doesn't include the monies needed to set up an entirely new, international system for drug regulation.

Of course no such press release would be complete without a list of the usual suspects who support this bozo proposition, including the AARP, AFL-CIO, Consumer’s Union, and Families USA.

And here’s the biggest falsehood, “"The Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act secures a framework for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs.”

Assure the safety of our drug supply? This is the biggest whopper of them all. How will our domestic medicines supply be "safer" when we open our borders to drugs from Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Greece, and Portugal -- to name only a few? Because that’s what S. 242 / H.R. 380 would allow since, for example, it would allow importation of drugs from the United Kingdom – which also means drugs from all of the 27 EU nations -- many of which have had their own supply chains infiltrated by counterfeits from Russia and elsewhere.

America’s small business owners deserve better, smarter Washington, DC representation.

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.

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