Norquist: “It would damage our ability to innovate for drugs that would cure Alzheimer’s and cancer and heart disease”

Today on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Company, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist noted the Florida drug importation bill is “one of Bernie Sanders’ ideas” that would cause harm to American healthcare.

Click here to watch Norquist’s full interview. 

Norquist said:

For starters it is one of Bernie Sanders’ ideas. The only one of the 50 states that has passed anything like this is Vermont. And it would damage our ability to innovate for drugs that would cure Alzheimer’s and cancer and heart disease because it will import price controls which then make it difficult to get new products to the market.

The rest of the world has damaged their ability to invent new drugs. We invent the drugs. Then they put price controls on them. And some politicians in Florida want to bring those price controls into Florida, a Republican state.”

Instead, Norquist called for FDA reform so that Americans had easier, more affordable access to safe prescriptions:

“There is an important way we can reduce the cost of drugs in the United States and get them to people sooner and get more innovation and solve some of these health problems sooner. And that is to speed up the FDA’s efforts to get new drugs out once they are safe. We did this for AIDS, we’ve done it in the past, we should do it for Alzheimer’s and cancer and other drugs. That would reduce costs. That would get people more health care.”

Norquist urged Florida lawmakers to reject the importation bill:

“Focusing on quick fixes to temporarily reduce prices so that in the future there are fewer new drugs, that’s not only a bad idea that would damage healthcare, hurt healthcare outcomes, and make us less healthy – but it gets in the way of the other things. The opportunity cost of doing stupid things is that you don’t do the smart things like tort reform or speeding up the FDA.”

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices” also weighed in against the Florida bill:

“Democrats once pushed importation as disguised price controls, but Republicans who understand markets helped to stop it. With Republicans now aping Democrats, this is a dangerous moment for the world’s most productive and dynamic market for medicine.”

In the editorial, WSJ raised skepticism about the practicality of importation and whether or not it would actually result in savings:

“One question is why Canada would allow the U.S. to siphon its drug stocks. Canada’s drug supply for 37 million residents isn’t brimming with extra products to sell to 21 million Floridians, even on a limited scale.”

Click here to watch Norquist’s full interview.