Debating Drug Spending

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

Debating Drug Spending


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Doug Bandow rightly points out that the price of drugs is not the highest factor in the cost of U.S. health care ("The costs of health care" Op-Ed, Wednesday). Nevertheless, drug companies benefit, at the expense of patients, from the lack of free trade in pharmaceuticals. The ban on drug reimportation helps drug companies enjoy the highest profit margins of any U.S. industry, almost four times the Fortune 500 average. Removing the ban on drug reimportation will cut costs for American consumers without harming research and development.

ALEX SINGLETON

President

Globalization Institute

London

*

I must issue a word of caution to Doug Bandow as he cites the report from the Office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on health care spending.

This report is a treasure trove of information about medical spending in the United States and should be studied carefully by anyone evaluating the nation's health-care system. The one thing it does not do, however, is distinguish between medically necessary and medically elective spending. This report lumps together spending for childhood immunizations with spending for Botox injections.

One must pose the question: How much of America's "excess" spending is a result of our prosperity and our choice to use discretionary income for elective health care? …

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