July 22, 2003
Dear U.S. Representative:
On behalf of the 280,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), I urge you to vote NO on H.R. 2427, the “Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003.”
Although drug re-importation may appear to be an easy way to reduce drug costs, the policy’s consumer benefits are vastly overstated. The price of a drug in Canada does not necessarily reflect what the price of the drug will be if re-imported into the United States. Prescription drug prices differ between nations based on a variety of factors, including per capita income and type of health care system.
The drug re-importation issue must be viewed in the context of the nation’s overall policy on pharmaceutical patents. When a pharmaceutical research company develops a new drug it is granted a patent, which promotes the progress of science and encourages innovation by granting a temporary monopoly to inventors. Re-importation undermines the rights granted to inventors by forcing them to compete with international resellers of the very drug that they developed. Re-importation would allow wholesalers to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities by buying drugs in less-developed nations and reselling them at a profit in the United States. However, this downstream price competition from foreign purchasers makes it difficult for pharmaceutical companies to recoup research and development costs, thereby threatening innovation and the availability of life-saving drugs to consumers at home and abroad.
CSE will count the vote on H.R. 2427 as a KEY VOTE to be reported to our members in your state. This KEY VOTE will be used to determine your eligibility for our Jefferson Award, to be presented at the conclusion of the 108th Congress. This award is provided to those legislators that espouse the CSE principles of limited government, lower taxes, and more freedom.
President and CEO