Based on the rhetoric of those on the left like avowed Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, giant pharmaceutical companies hellbent on profits rank as some of the most vile entities in the world.
Indeed, Sanders and others on the left seem to think of pharmaceutical CEOs as nothing more than fat cat capitalists, getting rich at the expense of little old ladies forced to shell out their life savings for a handful of pills that will keep them alive.
Bernie’s plan to save the elderly, sick and needy involves a seemingly innocuous thing called “price control.” He proudly supports the this on his campaign page.
Price controls can work many ways, but Bernie’s works like this: prescription drug prices would be pegged to a median price depending on what five major countries charge for it. He promises this will cut prices in half.
But at what cost?
Libertarian scholar and economist Peter Ferrara speculated in a Townhall Op-Ed that the results would not only be disastrous, but downright deadly — especially for American seniors.
The massive free market healthcare system in the United States is responsible for medicines, therapies and treatments that are beyond what every other country in the world offers.
According to a report by the American Action Forum, the U.S. holds the lion’s share of recent drug patents. These drugs do eventually become widespread worldwide, but only when the patents run out.
The reason for America’s disproportionately large amount of lifesaving patents? It may have something to do with prescription drug prices.
Research isn’t free, and it certainly isn’t cheap. The funds needed to build and equip laboratories are astronomical. To staff them with qualified and trained professionals is another fortune in and of itself.
The advanced prescription drugs Americans have the liberty of buying act almost as investments — revenue sources that can keep the labs pumping out truly life-saving innovations afloat and profitable.
As Ferrara points out, America would be in a much different place had we enacted price control systems 20 years ago.
Pharmaceutical innovation would most certainly not be anywhere near the level it’s at now. New and cutting-edge medicine, some of which seniors rely upon for comfortable lives, would likely still be on a drawing board in a lab, if even thought of at all.
Profit incentive is a powerful force, and accounts for much of America’s success in the last century. We’ve gone from a country of farmers, ranchers, settlers and explorers to a global hyperpower; a leader in technology, automation, transportation and medicine.
This may not be the case for much longer if Bernie Sanders or someone else who shares his love of price control secures power in America.
If enacted, price control will be like a wrench thrown into the works of progress. Discoveries will of course still be made, and new drugs will still be produced. But for some, they may come too late.
At least they’ll be “affordable.”
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