Trump Administration Should Not Allow Foreign Countries To ‘Freeload’ Off U.S. Medical Innovation

Wall Street Journal: How Other Countries Freeload on U.S. Drug Research
Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

“President Trump says American companies have been getting ‘systematically ripped off’ by foreign governments and firms. He’s right. Yet he has backed a proposal that would make the problem even worse — permitting Americans to buy prescription drugs from overseas retailers, a practice known as importation. … [I]mportation would threaten the research-and-development efforts that yield new lifesaving drugs. … [R]ather than promote innovation, many other countries impose price controls on prescription drugs — including new medicines invented in the United States — to make them artificially cheaper for consumers. If American companies refuse to sell their medicines at these steeply discounted dictated prices, foreign countries threaten to break their patents and produce knockoff versions of the medicines. … The bottom line is that foreign countries freeload off American medical innovation, enjoying the fruits of U.S. ingenuity while forcing American consumers to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of funding research. Rather than further undermine American companies by importing price-controlled drugs, the Trump administration would be wise to stand up on behalf of U.S. researchers. … If America is to remain the world leader in medical innovation, it can no longer afford to let foreign countries freeload” (2/21).