It seems that the governor of Illinois is planning to do more digging in the can of worms that is the prescription drug trade. By trade, I simply mean the process for getting the drugs to people who need them – not that he is involved in drug trafficking or anything. Though due to the vagaries of the way search engines interpret things, I’ll bet that a search for Illinois governor drug trafficking in the near future will bring you to this page. Heh. Guess that particular technology isn’t perfect yet.
In any case, someone (it may have been the governor himself) was on a morning news show this morning. Sorry, I don’t know which one. I think it was CBS, but I’m not really sure. I don’t pay too much attention to the TV, and just happened to hear what was being said.
To summarize: The drugs are apparently the same drugs that are sold in the US, manufactured by the same people who make those drugs. Sounds good. If they can be had cheaper, why not get them?
There was a comment about terrorism, but I don’t buy it. Terrorism itself is a very valid concern. It may one day even include issues such as this. But terrorism as it exists today, and has for a long time in other parts of the world, has rarely (if ever) had anything to do with things of this nature. Bombs and the like are typically much more terrifying, and in most places of the world take a whole lot less effort to implement than taking over a supply chain. Terrorists supplying fake medicine will also only terrorize those who take prescription medicine, and a decent percentage of the population don’t (on a regular basis anyway). Heck, many people now don’t because they can’t afford it. Isn’t that a concern?
Don’t get me wrong: The concern about fake prescription drugs sounded valid, but he had an answer for that too: People looking for drugs at a cheaper price are likely to get knock-off drugs in this country if they can’t get them elsewhere. According to this person, this is the only type of case that the FDA has seen thus far. That will surely increase, but is nonetheless a valid point. People in the US are probably more likely to have access to fake-drug-making equipment than those in other countries. I just think it’s more likely to be people bottling whatever they can to make a quick buck than it is to be terrorists.
I also recall reading about the ability to choose regulation. I’ve written about it (actually about drugs too), but that’s not what I’m talking about. I read in a book once that regulation itself isn’t inherently bad. It’s forced regulation that is a problem. If I don’t have a choice but to purchase “approved” products, I’m really not free to do as I please. But if I’m free to purchase any product, the approved ones happen to come with a better pedigree and I choose to pay a bit more for the regulated product, so be it. That’s my choice. I can just as easily choose a non-regulated product.
I am free to make the choices I like. If I choose to buy non-approved cereal (for instance) and then turn around and purchase regulated medicine, I’ll be able to do so. But making every product undergo regulation means I don’t have that freedom, and that stinks.
My final thought is that the other countries apparently have lower prices beceause the governments of those countries enforce price controls. Not sure I really like this either – if the countries are paying a part of the cost of the drug, then it’s no better than some of the subsidies we have here. But if they simply regulate the cost and the companies have to bear it? I’m not necessarily against that: Except as it means that we have to pay more to make up the cost.
I have an idea: Why in the world can we not just adopt a system that allows those who use services to pay for them?