Why are Drugs Affordable Across the Border?
October 29th, 2004
By Sal Roach
It’s Flu season and there’s not enough vaccine.
In Canada, there’s plenty. And it’s cheaper over there than
it is in America. Many Americans, thinking they are in the middle of an
American dream, may be waking up to a nightmare in which the most developed
nation in the world does not have affordable health care or access to
One of the greatest factors in this is the issue of liability. Drug companies
and Health Care providers spend billions of dollars a year on liability
insurance for their products. Trial lawyers are constantly suing drug companies
as well, which causes the prices of their product to be driven up.
In addition, there is no government regulation as to what these companies can
charge on the open market. Medicine in America is a privatized business, and the
effects are now being felt amongst the country’s depleted middle class.
When everyone was working with a 401K and full coverage a few years back, there
wasn’t the rumble there is now coming from a group that was so used to being
provided for. The lower class has always felt the sting of privatized medicine,
but now that the lower class is expanding, the cries are getting louder.
The election will decide who is listening.
In Canada, while the drug companies are still privatized, it is the government
who buys the drugs and distributes them to the people. They maintain leverage
over their drug manufacturers by setting all prices. If the drug company
refuses to sell to the government at a low price, the government allows it on
the public market, but at a higher price than their competitors who hold
The companies are forced to keep their prices low.
George Bush and John Kerry differ greatly from this, although neither have come
out and flat out said that drug lobbyists must be stopped in Washington.
Kerry is leaning towards a health plan more like that of Canada, where the FDA
and the President regulate prices on some drug companies and limit the amount of
law suits that can be filed against them.
Bush argues that by doing so, the government will control what kind of medicine
you take, and thus giving you less freedom. Bush is for banning the purchase of
drugs in Canada, while Kerry thinks that an FDA regulated program where all drugs
coming in can be checked should be put in place. Bush believes that this leads
to faulty drugs and more law suits.
Round and round they go in Washington.
Along with stem cells, it is the single most talked about health care topic on
this year’s campaign trail, so it should be of great interest to you.
Is the current health care program working? The United State has just
purchased a large quantity of flu shots from Canada, whose supply never ran
low. Why did the United States supply run low?
The makers of flu vaccines, fearing law suits, manufactured less this year
and some not at all, as last year’s run of sickness due to the vaccines
were pilling up in the billions in losses for drug manufacturers.
In this upcoming election, you need to ask yourself if you need your
government to take care of you. Should the individual be responsible for
their own health care? It seems as if, in a country full of people who cannot
seem to afford their medicine, that question has already been answered.
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