The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Why import only the drugs?

Oct 25, 2004

John Kerry attacks George Bush for opposing imports of cheaper drugs from Canada. Bush says Canada doesn't have enough drugs to handle the U.S. demand.

Neither of them touches the issue of why drug prices are lower in Canada in the first place.

The drugs from Canada are produced by the same companies in the same factories – often in Puerto Rico – that produce drugs for the U.S. In Canada, there is a federal review board that to some degree regulates the prices that drug companies charge. The Canadian system certainly doesn't keep companies from making sizeable profits. It simply forces companies to price their products somewhat closer to what they cost.

If Canada seems able to keep down drug prices while keeping drugs available to its citizens, why are the politicians talking about importing Canadian drugs? Why aren't they looking into importing the Canadian system?