Canadian drugs don’t help American businesses

Nevada politicians are allowed 120 days every other year to run the legislative sausage machine with all the forethought normally associated with your average 4-year-old. If that haste to create new laws weren’t bad enough, witness the collusion of Gov. Kenny “Republican in Name Only” Guinn. He recently signed a bill that will now allow Nevadans to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

Nevada, joining eight other states, will now begin inspecting and licensing Canadian pharmacies on a state-sponsored Web site.

The bill, championed by Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, claims it will help the poor, the seniors and the bargain-hunters, since prescriptions in Canada are subject to price controls and cheaper than the same medications available here.

This sounds reasonable until you consider that importation of controlled substances is still a violation of federal law—how’d you like to be on that Web site when the feds issue a subpoena for everyone who’s purchased something through it?

Still, let’s recall why drugs are so expensive in the first place.

First, it’s a myth that high prescription-drug prices are the fault of greedy pharmaceutical companies.

Here are some examples of “big-corporate profits” from fiscal year 2002, according to

The largest was Pixar. It made 45 percent net profit over net sales in 2002. Second place was Microsoft, at 35 percent.

The pharmaceutical companies? Both Merck & Company and Bristol-Meyers-Squib clocked in at just over 10 percent.

The truth of the matter is that high drug prices come to us courtesy of the Democratic Party and the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act that created the bureaucratic nightmare that makes prescriptions expensive.

As reported by ABC News’ John Stossel, getting a new drug approved by the FDA takes, on average, 12 to 15 years.

The chances of a single drug getting through research and development and then earning the final approval of the Food and Drug Administration are, at best, one in 10. Add to this the cost of developing a drug, some $500 million.

This might explain why Schering-Plough stock has dropped from $40 a share in 2002 to less than half of that today. It may also explain why Wal-Mart has earned $4.7 billion more in profit than the entire pharmaceutical industry combined. (It doesn’t need $500 million to develop a single product line.)

Before the rush to model Canada as the end-all-be-all to health care, consider the case of Chaoulli v. Quebec. In that case, Montreal physician Jacques Chaoulli and his patient, 73-year-old George Zeliotis, sued Quebec after Zeliotis had waited a year for hip-replacement surgery. They challenged a law that bans private health coverage.

Canada’s Supreme Court struck the law down. The court ruled that lengthy delays in treatment put Canadians’ health at risk. Writing for the majority, Justice Marie Deschamps said, “In the case of certain surgical procedures, the delays that are the result of waiting lists increase the patient’s risk of mortality or the risk that his or her injuries will become irreparable.”

The court’s decision will now allow patients to seek private care—something that wealthier Canadians have been doing for years. (Any guesses where they go for superior treatment?)

Democrats oppose private Social Security accounts and private schools in favor of government-controlled programs.

After trying a government-controlled program, Canadians changed the law on said government-controlled program in favor of private health care.

Anyone seeing a pattern here?