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Old July 22nd, 2004, 14:04
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How to Slash Pharmaceutical Prices Virtually Overnight

[Michael Badnarik] Excess regulation has increased new drug development time by a decade since the 1960s and multiplied development costs 5-fold. Consequently, our seriously ill die waiting for life-saving medicines and pay exorbitant prices when they finally can purchase them. Since these excess regulations kill many more people than they save, they can be safely eliminated, slashing pharmaceutical prices virtually overnight!

The average brand name prescription drug cost American consumers over $84 per month in 2003, making life-saving medications unaffordable for those on low or fixed incomes.

Establishment politicians want to shift these costs to taxpayers or pharmaceutical firms. Making taxpayers foot the bill will only spread the impoverishment. Cutting pharmaceutical profits to make drug companies foot the bill will stifle innovation. We'll be forced to watch our loved ones die in agony, unable to purchase a cure at any price.

These so-called solutions don't work in the real world because establishment politicians haven't answered the tough question: Why have drug prices risen so steeply in the past several decades?

The answer is excessive FDA regulation. In 1962, Congress passed the Kefauver-Harris Amendments, in the wake of the European thalidomide tragedy. This sweeping legislation meant that pharmaceutical firms had to go through more elaborate animal and human studies. New regulations made manufacturing more costly. Advertising had to undergo an approval process by the FDA.

The American consumer reaped small safety benefits from these added regulations, but the cost, both in lives and money, was even greater. Millions have died waiting for life-saving drugs because development times have increased by an average of 10 years since the 1960s. The cost of developing a new drug is now about $1 billion. Somewhere around 80% of this cost is due to excess regulations.

The Kefauver-Harris Amendments even created an American thalidomide which caused more birth defects than thalidomide did. Since the 1980s, we've known that the B vitamin, folic acid, could prevent about 85% of spina bifida and other neural tube abnormalities if taken in the first couple months of pregnancy. Until the late 1990s, the regulatory power of the Amendments was used by the FDA to stop vitamin manufacturers from advertising folic acid's benefits. Young women could have protected their unborn children with this safe, inexpensive supplement. Instead, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of American infants have been needlessly born with heart-wrenching deformities. Many more were aborted when pre-natal tests revealed these defects.

We could slash pharmaceutical prices overnight by ending these regulations. We could save people who now die waiting an extra decade for life-saving drugs. We could save our children from a future American thalidomide.

Why should we pay high pharmaceutical prices for regulations that harm us? If you elect me as your President, I promise to lower the high cost of prescription medication by eliminating the problem at its root.

I'm Michael Badnarik, Libertarian for President. I ask the tough questions---to give you answers that really work!

http://www.badnarik.org/Issues/RxDrugPrices.php
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