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Americans betrayed by Democratic senators with surprise amendment that protects Big Pharma monopoly
NewsTarget.com ^ | 5/8/07 | Mike Adams

Posted on 05/08/2007 9:45:03 AM PDT by BlazingArizona

Consumers expecting a miracle in the Senate that would end Big Pharma's monopoly and the FDA-enforced drug racket now operating in the United States will be sorely disappointed by yesterday's events. Fifteen Democratic senators (led by Sen. Edward Kennedy) abandoned consumer interests and joined a Republican-organized amendment that would protect Big Pharma's stranglehold over U.S. consumers by blocking the importation of prescription drugs from other countries...

(Excerpt) Read more at newstarget.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: corruption; imports; medications; senate
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For those who thought that electing Democrats would benefit the consumer, or that the Republicans we retained would be moe honest than the old crowd, the first big disappointment of the new term.
1 posted on 05/08/2007 9:45:10 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: BlazingArizona

What stupidity. Here’s a clue, folks: It costs well over a BILLION dollars to research and develop a new drug. And that does not count the massive cost of lawsuits etc. Now, if the drug companies can’t make up that price tag and make a BIG profit, why would they risk it?

Anyone who does not understand that does not understand what it takes to develop a new drug, the potential liability involved, and the free market in general.

Frankly, I’m shocked that the Democra#s get it...


2 posted on 05/08/2007 9:49:01 AM PDT by piytar
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To: piytar; BlazingArizona

The vote was not anything so noble.

They voted to require the government to certify that the drugs being imported are safe and effective.

The government agency that would be tasked with that job has already said they can’t do so because they have no regulatory authority over the foreign entities that would be importing the drugs.

So it effectively kills the program, unless the democrats manage to throw another billion dollars at the agency and push for reciprical agreements with other countries to give our agency the access necessary.


3 posted on 05/08/2007 9:52:40 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: piytar
and the free market in general.

If it were a free market, I could buy a company's products in Canada, where they sell for less. That would lead to a price increase in Canada eventually, but that is not my worry.
4 posted on 05/08/2007 9:54:40 AM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: piytar
What stupidity. Here’s a clue, folks: It costs well over a BILLION dollars to research and develop a new drug. And that does not count the massive cost of lawsuits etc.

The more fair way would be to distrubute the development costs over the entire world instead of just the chumps who live here in the US. Then start enforcing patents so countries can't strongarm drug companies by making them offers like "sell it for $0.10/pill or we'll just produce it ourselves."

5 posted on 05/08/2007 9:55:32 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: BlazingArizona

BTW, I do agree that it’s partially not fair that other countries’ citizens pay much less for their meds. Then again, they don’t have the sue-happy environment, byzanine FDA, and all the other related hurdles of doing biz in the US.

The answer includes the following: (1) Accept that new drugs are risky, and lessen the massive regulatory burden on bringing them to market. (2) Provide protection against insanely huge lawsuits barring intentional acts, gross (and I mean GROSS) negligence, etc.

That, or accept the cost of massive regulation, effective testing and lawsuits.

Here is what the FDA has to say about counterfeit drugs: http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/counterfeit/qa.html Yes, they are going to be cheaper, but there is a good chance they either won’t help you or might actually hurt you.


6 posted on 05/08/2007 9:55:59 AM PDT by piytar
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To: BlazingArizona

One of the reasons for pricing differential between 1st and 3rd world countries is to reduce/prevent widespread patent violations and theft of intellectual property.

Those third world governments feel free to allow their corporations to violate US companies IP rights if the price is right. Differential pricing reduces the financial incentive to do so.

Sucks, but it’s the truth. Also, considering the contaminated wheat gluten coming out of China, do we really want them gearing up to produce counterfiet prescription drugs to sell to us when the border is thrown open.


7 posted on 05/08/2007 9:56:10 AM PDT by Valpal1 (Social vs fiscal conservatism? Sorry, I'm not voting my wallet over the broken bodies of the innocen)
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To: piytar

Do you know how much money is spent trying to convince you to go to your doctor to ask for a certain kind of drug by name? Do you know if you need viagra or cialis? The drug companies are trying to get you to make the choice rather than your doctor and spending billions to do it. That’s not R&D.


8 posted on 05/08/2007 9:56:20 AM PDT by DemEater
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To: KarlInOhio
The more fair way would be to distrubute the development costs over the entire world instead of just the chumps who live here in the US. Then start enforcing patents so countries can't strongarm drug companies by making them offers like "sell it for $0.10/pill or we'll just produce it ourselves."

Now THAT I agree with! Well said.

9 posted on 05/08/2007 9:57:08 AM PDT by piytar
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To: piytar
Those senators are are: Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Maria Cantwell, Thomas Carper, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Mary Landrieu, Frank Lautenberg, Blanche Lincoln, Robert Menéndez, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Ben Nelson, Jay Rockefeller, and Kenneth Salazar.

I don't know if it is a case of getting it or if there are specific reasons why each of these senators voted for it. Kennedy and Kerry on the list makes me believe that there is some sort of money connection in Mass either having to do with the drug industry or the fact that Mass is close to Canada. NJ has a huge drug industry with many prominent labs located there, which explains Frank Lautenberg and Menéndez. Murray, Cantwell,and Baucus come from border states with Canada. I say follow the money.

10 posted on 05/08/2007 9:59:39 AM PDT by kabar
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To: DemEater

Marketing saves consumers money. How is Wal-Mart able to offer customers everyday low prices? Lots of marketing, advertising, and PR spend.


11 posted on 05/08/2007 9:59:42 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: oblomov
How is Wal-Mart able to offer customers everyday low prices?

To make up the difference in what they lose from name brand products..they offer cheap products from China and other 3rd world countries?

12 posted on 05/08/2007 10:04:38 AM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: BlazingArizona
Oh, boy, another thread where FReepers can bemoan that the big, bad businessmen won't sell them stuff at a price they deem "fair."

Here's a solution to all the whiners: Start your own company and invent your own medications and then you can sell them for whatever price you like.

Patents are necessary. They are so fundamental that they are an actual enumerated power in the US Constitution.

13 posted on 05/08/2007 10:14:05 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: BlazingArizona

btt


14 posted on 05/08/2007 10:14:47 AM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: piytar
What stupidity. Here’s a clue, folks: It costs well over a BILLION dollars to research and develop a new drug. And that does not count the massive cost of lawsuits etc. Now, if the drug companies can’t make up that price tag and make a BIG profit, why would they risk it?

It costs the same in R&D, testing, and liability exposure to develop a new microprocessor. But because Intel and AMD did not make that Faustian decision to buy government "protection" from competition in return for massive regulation, their products sell in an openly competitive world market while still returning large profits.

15 posted on 05/08/2007 10:14:51 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: oblomov
Marketing saves consumers money. How is Wal-Mart able to offer customers everyday low prices? Lots of marketing, advertising, and PR spend.

Compared to many other stores, Wal-Mart seems pretty light on the advertising. I only get Sunday ads for them about once a month instead of every week like other major (and not so major) stores in the area. They don't even seem to have that many commercials compared to other retailers.

16 posted on 05/08/2007 10:17:13 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: Valpal1
One of the reasons for pricing differential between 1st and 3rd world countries is to reduce/prevent widespread patent violations and theft of intellectual property.

I ask the same question once more: when Intel sells chips on the world market, it also has to keep its legal staff looking for patent violations. Its marketing situation is the same as pharma: it advertises to consumers, but sells indirectly ("Make sure your new Dell has Intel Inside..."). It does not use these factors as an excuse to charge Americans extra. Drug companies charge us more for one reason only - because they have had laws passed that force us to pay higher prices.

I'm sure Intel wishes it had such clout.

17 posted on 05/08/2007 10:22:38 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: LaineyDee

You are missing the point. Marketing saves money for consumers in th end.


18 posted on 05/08/2007 10:28:21 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: KarlInOhio

The Democrats know it was all just empty retoric. Americans bare the brunt of the development of new drugs. Foreign government strong-arm drug companies into selling at much discounted rates. The drug companies view the R&D as sunk costs and several companies have similar drugs, so the companies usually cave.

However, what floats the R&D budgets of companies is the US market. Like it or not, if we re-import drugs at a lower price, the R&D for new drugs companies will drop. We’ll get current drugs cheaply and then no new drugs ever ever ever.


19 posted on 05/08/2007 10:28:39 AM PDT by Barney Gumble (A liberal is someone too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel - Robert Frost)
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To: KarlInOhio

Hmmm, I think that 99% of Americans would recognize the Wal-Mart smiley-face logo. Their marketing is very effective, regardless of whether they buy ads in your paper or on TV.

Marketing is not the same as advertising.


20 posted on 05/08/2007 10:30:47 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: piytar
What stupidity. Here's a clue, folks: It costs well over a BILLION dollars to research and develop a new drug. And that does not count the massive cost of lawsuits etc. Now, if the drug companies can't make up that price tag and make a BIG profit, why would they risk it?

Sorry that is not true all the time either. I know a research scientist who has developed a new substance that will effect most areas of medicine. The Chinese are already using it, it is being used in Veterinary Medicine already, and Europe is just now allowing it’s use.
It was developed/invented for a few million dollars of government grants and the big Pharm companies are PO'd. In fact the big Pharms have been trying to buy the patents on this product so they can manufacture and sell this product in an effort to recover the 500 million $ they have put into their failed research in this area. I know what the figures are. Big Pharm would make this product for $11 ea, and sell it to hospitals for $250 ea. The hospitals would mark it up from there. All of this on someone else’s research and discovery. They do not have a dime into the research that led to the discovery or refinement of this product but they would still financially rape the public with the markup if they could buy the patents.
I am proud of the doc who developed this product both for his brilliance as a research scientist and also for not selling out to the big Pharm companies. Our Senate just passed another bill that protects our Pharmaceutical companies from competition outside our borders. Many Democrats had to cross party lines to help pass this bill. This is the real story in this. Our politicians are owned by the Pharmaceutical companies.

21 posted on 05/08/2007 10:36:20 AM PDT by oldenuff2no
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To: Barney Gumble

“However, what floats the R&D budgets of companies is the US market. Like it or not, if we re-import drugs at a lower price, the R&D for new drugs companies will drop. We’ll get current drugs cheaply and then no new drugs ever ever ever.”

Bulls eye!
One conceivable way out of this may be for the US govt to make it illegal for American companies to dump in foreign countries for less than the selling price in the US. This can to be a can of worms, with Europe and Canada retaliating any way they can to save their sacred cow price controls. Then we would probably have to make exceptions for impoverished countries, e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa.


22 posted on 05/08/2007 10:41:36 AM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: SoothingDave

“Patents are necessary.”

And absolutely useless when you are dealing with people in countries with governments that won’t actively prosecute infringement cases.


23 posted on 05/08/2007 10:45:02 AM PDT by EEDUDE (The more I know, the less I understand...)
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To: oblomov

“Marketing saves consumers money. How is Wal-Mart able to offer customers everyday low prices? Lots of marketing, advertising, and PR spend.”

I am talking about Pharma spending billions to advertise to consumers (as opposed to doctors). How does that save people money? It just drives up the costs at which they sell the drugs so that they can maintain their profit margins.


24 posted on 05/08/2007 10:45:41 AM PDT by DemEater
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To: BlazingArizona
Drug companies charge us more for one reason only - because they have had laws passed that force us to pay higher prices.

What on earth are you talking about? What "laws" force us to pay higher prices? Do you not understand the concept of patents?

25 posted on 05/08/2007 10:48:21 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: EEDUDE
And absolutely useless when you are dealing with people in countries with governments that won’t actively prosecute infringement cases.

That's a problem for diplomats, not for businessmen. If faced with such recalcitrant gov'ts their only choice is to make some profit or make none.

I agree the US should make foreign lands pay their fair share of Pharma R&D costs. I don't agree with FReepers who want cheap stuff just because they think they deserve it. That's becoming no worse than the foreigners who blatantly steal others' intellectual property (or threaten to do so.)

26 posted on 05/08/2007 10:50:48 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: haroldeveryman
One conceivable way out of this may be for the US govt to make it illegal for American companies to dump in foreign countries for less than the selling price in the US.

The US Gov't has no power to hinder exports. For good reason.

27 posted on 05/08/2007 10:51:55 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: DemEater

Not true. If there was very little demand, drugs would have to be much more expensive to recoup the development costs.

Just as in the case of any other product, the stimulation of demand by making people aware of the product (i.e. marketing) is what causes the price of drugs to be as low as they are.

Drug companies do not spend any more on marketing than they have to.

What did Lipitor cost in 1970? What did Plavix cost then? Would you like to guess?


28 posted on 05/08/2007 10:54:10 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: oldenuff2no

“They do not have a dime into the research that led to the discovery or refinement of this product but they would still financially rape the public with the markup if they could buy the patents.”

Most likely your friend has a good idea of the future economic worth of his work and can make a deal with big pharma and rape THEM accordingly. It may be to his advantage to do so because he may not have the necessary marketing, manufacturing, or legal know-how. Or maybe he does, in which case he can tell them to take a flying leap.

The rhetoric that you hear from Democrats who favor price considers only producion costs and not R&D. The fact remains that imposing price controls on drugs ala Canada and Europe would kill R&D.


29 posted on 05/08/2007 11:02:00 AM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: piytar
Well said! I am sure you are going to get flamed by the "I'm a conservative, except when it comes to Big Pharma" wing of FR. It is funny how so many of our brethren turn into Big Government Socialists when it comes to actually having to pay for drugs that keep them alive. They would prefer that their neighbors have their pocketbooks picked by the Nanny State so they can still get cable.
30 posted on 05/08/2007 11:08:21 AM PDT by go-dubya-04
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To: piytar

You mean Pharma Corps aren’t charities? /sarcasm


31 posted on 05/08/2007 11:10:34 AM PDT by ShandaLear (When something is true, one need not lie to prove it.)
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To: KarlInOhio

Pray tell, how you would enforce the patents? Do you think that the drug companies want their intellectual property stolen? Do you think that they want to give away all the AIDS medicine to Africa? Do you think they don’t want to sell their product at free market cost in Canada? And what do you propose the price of drugs should be in Mexico, Africa, most of Asia? Same price as the US, when the average income is about $500 per year?
Do you think Big Pharma is a worse plague on the system than the trial lawyers who are driving up costs with their frivolous lawsuits?


32 posted on 05/08/2007 11:14:24 AM PDT by go-dubya-04
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To: kabar

Lots of biotech in Mass. Kennedy has always been good to both biotech and Pharma. It is the only good thing he has ever done.


33 posted on 05/08/2007 11:16:43 AM PDT by go-dubya-04
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To: SoothingDave
What on earth are you talking about? What "laws" force us to pay higher prices?

You can shop worldwide online for just about any legal product - except your prescriptions. Being required to buy locally in this one instance gives the seller unique power to control the market.

34 posted on 05/08/2007 11:17:47 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: BlazingArizona
It costs the same in R&D, testing, and liability exposure to develop a new microprocessor. But because Intel and AMD did not make that Faustian decision to buy government "protection" from competition in return for massive regulation, their products sell in an openly competitive world market while still returning large profits.

When you get a bad chip from AMD you can return it for a working one, and no harm is done. Some time and money are lost at the very worst. When drugs are made poorly, folks tend to end up dead or disabled. These are hardly comparable cases, and to treat them so is disingenuous.
35 posted on 05/08/2007 11:24:38 AM PDT by EKrusling
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To: P-40

Free Trade is good. Unless its not good for Big Pharm.


36 posted on 05/08/2007 11:27:22 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: piytar

The bulk of Pharmaceutical spending comes from marketing.


37 posted on 05/08/2007 11:28:28 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: BlazingArizona
You can shop worldwide online for just about any legal product - except your prescriptions.

There are import tariffs and restrictions on all kinds of products. You may think you've found a golden loophole, but it is foolishness to think the manufacturers are going to send enough volume of pills to Canada to have them be re-imported in the quantities Americans would need.

The price in the US is what it is. If you want Canadian prices, move to Canada.

38 posted on 05/08/2007 11:28:40 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: BlazingArizona

So when is Congress going to shut down food imports?


39 posted on 05/08/2007 11:30:05 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: BlazingArizona
You can shop worldwide online for just about any legal product - except your prescriptions.

I've done that on other products. One of the most recent was a Mozart CD collection (recommended here at FR) which was over $300 at amazon.com, but about $100 (including shipping and currency exchange rates) at amazon.de in Germany. If American consumers could buy drugs across borders, then the drug companies would have to spread their R&D costs across all their customers instead of just sticking Americans with them.

I think that many of the Dems who voted for this just want to keep current prices high to cause the collapse and ultimate nationalization of the American health care system sooner. The drug companies are feeding the aligator and hoping to be the last one eaten eith allies like that.

40 posted on 05/08/2007 11:35:53 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: BlazingArizona

What monopoly?

If Americans want to see an end of all innovation and forget about any new drugs, just let this go through.


41 posted on 05/08/2007 11:48:45 AM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution ? 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Wolfie

They’ve already started. Try buying some runny imported cheese made with unpasteurized milk. ;-)


42 posted on 05/08/2007 11:50:32 AM PDT by SoothingDave (She was a fishmonger)
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To: haroldeveryman
One conceivable way out of this may be for the US govt to make it illegal for American companies to dump in foreign countries for less than the selling price in the US.

Yes, I have also thought of that as a possible solution. However if we still sell to sub-Saharan africa at a discount then the Europeans will import from there.

43 posted on 05/08/2007 12:17:40 PM PDT by Barney Gumble (A liberal is someone too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel - Robert Frost)
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To: EKrusling
When you get a bad chip from AMD you can return it for a working one, and no harm is done. Some time and money are lost at the very worst. When drugs are made poorly, folks tend to end up dead or disabled.

Selling products at different prices in different markets is a common practice, and is not a problem so long as buyers have a countervailing right to shop around for the best deal. Neither is there anything unique about the safety issue with drugs either. A large percentage of the products we import are potentially dangerous. When we import a shank of New Zealand lamb or a Mercedes, we need to be concerned about product safety. Many products need to be tariffed and inspected, but we still routinely import them. The one exception is medications.

Were you aware that Clinton carved out a special exemption from the drug import ban for homosexuals? Yep - if you're of that politically-important minority, you get a free pass to order medication by mail from overseas. Why don't the rest of us have this right too?

44 posted on 05/08/2007 12:28:02 PM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: Wolfie

Not true. The majority of pharma spending is on compliance with regulations.


45 posted on 05/08/2007 12:42:59 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: oblomov
You are missing the point.

No.......I should have put a sarcasm tag on the end of my post to you. ;)

46 posted on 05/08/2007 12:46:01 PM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: Wolfie

Since when does “free trade” include FORCING a company to sell a specific amount of their product to a foreign government?

Because that’s what this bill does.


47 posted on 05/08/2007 12:46:02 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: oldenuff2no
Our politicians are owned by the Pharmaceutical companies.

As are most Medical Schools......the FDA....research facilities....etc. I think it's a two-edged sword. They're a necessary entity.... but they're also run amok.

48 posted on 05/08/2007 12:54:28 PM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: BlazingArizona
Neither is there anything unique about the safety issue with drugs either. A large percentage of the products we import are potentially dangerous. When we import a shank of New Zealand lamb or a Mercedes, we need to be concerned about product safety. Many products need to be tariffed and inspected, but we still routinely import them. The one exception is medications.

A manufactured good has a place of origin which can be traced. The safety of an entire product line can be appraised from a fraction of the whole lot. If a portion of the line is defective in some way, other units can be identified as potentially defective and recalled.

Food items lie somewhere between pharmaceuticals and manufactured goods. Appropriately, importation of food is restricted somewhat less than drugs, but more than most other products. Beef, for instance, has posed a particularly significant health risk in recent years and its import has been limited by point of origin.

Your comparison is misleading because drugs are unique among products. It is not the case that all drugs used in this country must be manufactured here. If a pharmaceutical company makes their product somewhere else it can usually be brought here, subject to quality control similar to domestic drugs. What is currently banned is reimportation -- import of drugs which are not factory-direct, that have exchanged hands several times and have not been monitored for tampering in that in-between time. It is simple to turn a profit by adulterating them in some way, actual concentration and date of expiration is easily disguised, and it is difficult distinguish the origin of one lot of a drug when compared to another.

Now it might be fair to reimport drugs with inspection. However, in my own opinion, anything less than an assay of every single reimported unit would be inadequate.
49 posted on 05/08/2007 7:11:17 PM PDT by EKrusling
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To: haroldeveryman

This research Doc does have the ability to take this product to market. He has made the decision to see this through to the end. By keeping control of the product and process he will be a very wealthy man and the public will be paying much less.
He is smart enough to know that the world will not measure his success by the size of his bank account. I believe that his line of products will be saving lives in Iraq within a few weeks.


50 posted on 05/08/2007 7:29:23 PM PDT by oldenuff2no
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