Monday, June 21, 2004

Drug Firms Rage War Against Seniors

DAVE ZWEIFEL, MADSION CAPITAL TIMES, WI - The Bush administration, doing the bidding of the big drug corporations, wants to make it next to impossible for U.S. citizens to buy their drugs in Canada.

The Food and Drug Administration insists that Americans can't be sure the drugs from Canada are safe, therefore it won't give its OK to state governments, co-ops and others who would like to save about a third of the cost of prescription drugs by going through Canadian pharmaceutical channels.

Canada, who some say has more safeguards over its prescription drug system than the United States has over its, also has cost controls on those drugs, which help account for the lower prices. Plus the efficiencies of its single-payer health care system, which the powers-that-be in the U.S. refuse to acknowledge, contribute to lower consumer costs.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and other governors insist that their states could save tens of millions for their taxpayers if they could buy en masse through Canada. The savings to the states would come in state-paid health insurance for their employees, Medicaid coverage and other programs that serve the poor and helpless.

The drug companies are pulling out all stops to prevent this from happening, going so far as to limit the supplies to Canadian distributors. Heavens! We don't want some senior U.S. citizen paying $20 for a prescription when she should be paying $30, now do we?

It's no wonder that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has issued drug companies a threat of his own. He says that if they do limit drugs to Canada, he'll see to it that their products are taken off the preferred list for Illinois state employees if there is a viable alternative available.

The irony of this saga is captured in the following little ditty that came via e-mail the other day:

"A car company can move its factories to Mexico and claim it's a free market.

"A toy company can outsource to a Chinese subcontractor and claims it's a free market.

"A major bank can incorporate in Bermuda to avoid taxes and claim it's a free market.

"But heaven help the elderly who dare to buy their prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy."

For many American conglomerates, these free markets, after all, only go so far.

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