Price Controls: The Walking Dead of Public Policy

In 2024, the question of Intellectual Property rages on. That is because many Americans view physical property—like a home, car, or an antique—as something to be treasured, while Intellectual Property is frequently seen as an impediment to personal freedom.

But Intellectual Property is the very embodiment of personal freedom. After all, what is more personal than the creations of our mind? And what better represents freedom than the ability to profit—yes, profit—from our creations? Those profits often enable us to improve our lives, as well as both directly and indirectly improve the lives of others. In short, it makes perfect sense to treat Intellectual Property with the same care and sanctity that we treat our physical property.

Yet the ostensible defender of our property, the federal government, doesn’t seem to view things the same way. Despite a period where the positive impact of a robust prescription drug industry has been on display for the world to see, the federal government is looking for ways to undermine intellectual property, under the guise of lowering prescription drug costs.

To be clear, just about everyone wants to pay less for medicine. However, many Americans understand that the price we pay for those successful drugs, such as Ozempic, Viagra, and the COVID-19 vaccines is not just to pay for the cost of a few pills. Each time we pay or co-pay for a new prescription, a substantial portion of that money is going to fund the development of new drugs. This even includes the cost of research on potential drugs that don’t make it beyond the testing stages. Remember: these costs include everything from the scientists who spend hours in the lab testing new formulas to the cost of assembling studies that meet the Food & Drug Administration’s stringent requirements.  

Sadly, the federal government is teaming up with a company accused of stealing critical technology from a much smaller company, and trying to enmesh the taxpayers by “generously” offering to cover the large company’s liability for patent infringement…with the hope of getting a court to bless this arrangement and then using the unprecedented court ruling to impose politically unpopular price controls.

This type of scheme is the sort of thing you hear about coming from third-world or totalitarian nations, where governments often use the thin veneer of a law or court proceeding to justify actions they know are either illegal or simply wrong. This approach also sets a bad precedent by encouraging future administrations of both political parties to ‘creatively’ use the law and court system to eliminate liberty and property in a way that precludes We The People from fighting back.

Our polling consistently tells us that Americans desire choice and competence from their political leaders. We also value honesty, not cloak-and-dagger techniques designed to consolidate power. Thus, FreedomWorks is standing firm in opposition to the Biden Administration’s effort to strip choice away from consumers by using a strategy places the property—physical and intellectual—at great risk of seizure by a government that has long since slipped its Constitutional bonds.

Accordingly, we hope the Biden Team will come to its senses end the federal government’s rogue effort to intervene in a private patent infringement lawsuit and use taxpayer dollars to pay the infringer’s bill.  Instead of finding creative ways to saddle taxpayers with even more debt while advancing socialist agendas, the Biden Team should focus on kitchen table issues such as the public debt and how it is wrong that every man, woman, and child is already saddled with more than $100,000 in crippling federal debt.