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SOCIAL: Cutting Pharmaceutical Prices the Libertarian Way

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posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 12:56 PM
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Here is the plan that Michael Badnarik and the Libertarian party support to lower the cost of perscription drugs drastically. Many Americans are appalled by the amount they have to pay for perscription drugs and that makes it a major issue in the 2004 election.
 

What most people will have to realize is that Libertarian philosiphies all depend upon cutting back the government and allowing people to make decisions for themselves. Libertarianism to the extreme would produce anarchy but that is not what Libertarians believe in. They believe in keeping a government around to handle foreign policy issues, protect this nation, and make sure that liberty in its true definition exists and everyone has the right to do what they want as long as it dosen't hurt others.

The Libertarian party believes that the best way to lower the cost of perscription drugs is to remove government regulation on the industry. Specifically, cutting back on the FDA. American in 2003 had to pay $84 on average for brand name perscription drugs. Here is a quote from Michael Badnarik's, the Libertarian candidate for president, website www.badnarik.org....

"In 1962, Congress passed the Kefauver-Harris Amendments, in the wake of the European thalidomide tragedy. This sweeping legislation meant that pharmaceutical firms had to go through more elaborate animal and human studies. New regulations made manufacturing more costly. Advertising had to undergo an approval process by the FDA."

While at first you may think that cutting back on the safeguards that exist is a bad thing, and it is if taken to an extreme, what the Libertarian party is talking about is cutting back on excess regulation. The average cost of developing a new drug is around $1 Billion USD and almost all of that, 80%, is due to the excessive amounts of extended testing that must be undertaken.

By eliminating these expensive regulations, the drugs could then be produced much cheaper and it would then allow American consumers to be able to get the drugs they needed easier while allowing life-saving drugs to be able to get clearance from the FDA faster so more people could be helped.

The main problem with this is that some drugs that have long term side effects could not be detected as easy. While that is a problem, the average citizen would be required to research new drugs themselves and not make stupid decisions. The burden would be shifted from being entirely on the government's shoulders to having more weight on the consumers. The libertarian party believes the people could make the right decisions.

[edit on 3-8-2004 by SkepticOverlord]

[edit on 8/3/2004 by lockheed]




posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 08:37 PM
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DontTreadOnMe~~conservative team

While ridding the FDA of excessive regulations and getting drugs on the market seem like a commendable ideas, I doubt this would ever happen as long as there are drug lobbyists. Do the Libertarians have a plant to rid us of lobbyists? They are a huge expense for the drug companies.
I imagine that large payouts from lawsuits against drug companies also increases the cost of drugs. How could this be corrected? Seems like the trial lawyer lobbyists might not want to cut back on huge lawsuit settlements.



posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 11:00 PM
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I honestly don't know if lobbyists can be rid of. The problem is that lobbyists merely organize ideas and present them to government officials in attractive ways. I believe there will always be lobbyists.

However, I think that there should be something done about lobbyists. The way the system works today is causing corruption. There should most likely be government regulation on the amount of money spent on lobbyists and a limit put on the amount of lobbyists any one group can have "in action" at a time.

Pharmeceutical companies are going to continue to abuse Americans as long as they have so much control over the government.



posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
I imagine that large payouts from lawsuits against drug companies also increases the cost of drugs. How could this be corrected? Seems like the trial lawyer lobbyists might not want to cut back on huge lawsuit settlements.


This is a really important point. The amount of litigation that these companies endure is getting extreem. More to the point, by stripping off the "excessive" safeguards, are you ensuring that the drugs will be safer for the consumer? While its an easy to discuss notion, would you want a loved one on a drug that was not tested and retested before being released?

It makes it easier for a rouge scientist to falsify clinical data because the testing cycle would be much shorter. Clinical trials are analagous to flight testing a new X-plane. You want to know all the variables before you let others use it.

For special drugs that affect a small population the FDA has a special "Orphan drugs" department to handle drugs that effect smaller populations. They are often approved faster becuase they get an expidited review.
www.fda.gov...

The other aspect that people are reluctant to bring up is that health care is first and foremost a business. I am a health care professional and I see that aspect everyday. Before you decry the US system and suggest a socialized medicine alternative" look closely at those programs and you will see that they are economicaly driven as well. Drug companies spend a huge amount of money on R&D. For every 100 drugs in the pipeline, you may get lucky with one. The risks and expendatures are huge. These companies are entitled to make a profit on the drugs they develop.

Fred T, RN, BSN, RNTS (and about 12 other acronyms)



[edit on 4-8-2004 by FredT]



posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by lockheed
However, I think that there should be something done about lobbyists. The way the system works today is causing corruption. There should most likely be government regulation on the amount of money spent on lobbyists and a limit put on the amount of lobbyists any one group can have "in action" at a time.

Pharmeceutical companies are going to continue to abuse Americans as long as they have so much control over the government.


But isn't more government reglations something contrary to libertarian thinking? I agree lobbyists are firmly entrenched in Washington. They control far too many aspects of our lives. I'm not sure we CAN get rid of them.



posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 10:02 AM
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Originally posted by FredT
Before you decry the US system and suggest a socialized medicine alternative" look closely at those programs and you will see that they are economicaly driven as well. Drug companies spend a huge amount of money on R&D. For every 100 drugs in the pipeline, you may get lucky with one. The risks and expendatures are huge. These companies are entitled to make a profit on the drugs they develop.

Sure, they need to spend big bucks on R&D. But, they do NOT need to spend multi-millions on advertising. We are bombarded with commercials in print and on trhe air for "that little purple pill called Prilosec" and dozens of other drugs. This is not only unnecessary IMO but often leads to patients deciding what they want their doctor to give them. Getting a scrip for a newer, more expensive drug when another older, cheaper drug would work just as well. Doctors also get incentives from drug companies to write these more expensive drugs. (Information supplied by my friends neighbor who works for a drug company. And from one of my doctors.)
_________
Also, I'm not so sure that some drugs alrdeady hit the markets too early and we consumers end up being part of the final testing. Just my opinion here.



posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by lockheed
I honestly don't know if lobbyists can be rid of. The problem is that lobbyists merely organize ideas and present them to government officials in attractive ways. I believe there will always be lobbyists.


While the problem of lobbyists probably deserves its own topic, let me answer with this: reduce lobbyists by reducing government. The Libertarian position believed that lobbyists are a result of excessive government influence and are a part of big government. As the influence of government shrinks so shall the hangers-on who would use government to manipulate the market in ways which would normally be done by the consumer, to the detriment of said lobbyists. To tie back into the direct topic, the costs of those lobbyists reflect in the costs of the pharmaceuticals, reduce government infulence on reduce government influence on the industry and reduce the costs of the end product.




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