by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
HERE’S A HUGELY winning issue for President Donald Trump that would deal with a gross trading abuse and simultaneously advance his goal of reducing the prices of prescription drugs: Insist that foreign buyers of American pharmaceuticals–almost without exception government agencies–pay their fair share of the research and development costs of these medicines. Currently, Americans are subsidizing overseas users of our drugs. …
… When a pharmaceutical company sells a new drug overseas, buyers demand a price that’s a fraction of what American customers pay. The demand is more in line with a gangsteresque “We’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” process than normal business bargaining. The implicit–and sometimes explicit–threat is that if a company doesn’t cave the country will allow a knockoff of the medication to be produced by another company.
The U.S. should now make fair pricing of American drugs overseas a top trade priority: If you don’t want to pay for our R&D, you won’t get our pills. Period. And if you try the imitation game, we’ll take painful retaliatory measures.
Success with this would mean significantly lower costs for American consumers.