Tomorrow, the Florida House Health and Human Services committee will be debating House Bill 19, legislation that would establish prescription drug importation programs in the Sunshine State. While this bill may sound like a reasonable free market solution, it is far from it.
The importation of foreign drugs also comes with the importation of foreign price controls. In the end, this bill would result in the same negative consequences as outright price controls – fewer resources being available to invest in the next generation of life saving medication – while doing nothing to help patients afford their medicine.
Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Committee that warns of the serious negative consequences that could stem from HB 19. The full text of the letter is below.
March 27, 2019
To: Members of the Florida House Health and Human Services Committee
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Oppose House Bill 19
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Florida, I urge you to oppose House Bill 19, misguided legislation that would impose foreign price controls on prescription medication. Despite the good intentions behind this bill, if implemented, HB 19 would jeopardize the development of new medication and result in a number of other devastating consequences, while doing nothing to actually lower costs for patients.
HB 19 would establish drug re-importation programs in Florida, allowing for the importation of drugs from Canada. On its face, drug re-importation schemes may sound like a reasonable free market solution, but in reality, they are a clever ploy designed to trick proponents of limited government and free markets into supporting socialist policies.
Despite the lengthy, complex, and costly process for developing prescription medication in the United States, it is still the world’s freest market for medicine, as all other countries have price controls and other regulations in place that are designed to forcefully reduce drug costs. Since those pricing policies make it hard for companies to recover the cost of manufacturing medication, they ultimately suppress innovation there and result in the rest of the world freeloading off of US investment in research and development.
In light of this, HB 19 is very shortsighted “solution.” The importation of price-controlled medication from other countries would come with the importation of foreign price controls into the United States. In the end, the importation of foreign price controls would result in the same negative consequences as outright price controls – fewer resources available to invest in the next generation of life-saving and life-improving medicine.
The best thing state lawmakers can do to lower the price of prescription drugs and health care is to embrace free market solutions, which promote the competition that spurs innovation, improves quality, increases the number of available options, and naturally keeps prices low. As such, ATR opposes HB 19 and urges lawmakers to vote NO.
Americans for Tax Reform