The Market Institute President Charles Sauer has a new piece in the Washington Examiner looking at the White House’s newest proposed regulation on importing foreign prices controls for prescription drugs.
Here is an excerpt:
“On July 20, 1969, the United States landed on the moon. In November, a couple of vaccines demonstrated the likelihood of their ability to restore order and safety in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic.
The coronavirus vaccines are continuing their journey to where they will start inoculating the world. Pfizer and Moderna both have applied for emergency use authorization with the FDA. More vaccines are being produced, and distribution plans are being finalized. This is an achievement of human ingenuity, an achievement of science, an achievement of industry, and an achievement of resilience. It’s the new moonshot. The key factor in the success of this achievement has its origin in a guarantee of the Constitution: the right to a patent.
At the beginning of 2020, we didn’t know about COVID-19, but in the U.S., we had a vibrant drug research and development sector. In fact, almost half of the world’s new drugs are developed in the U.S. That is largely because we have strong intellectual property protections. That means that when a company or individual makes a new breakthrough, they own that idea (for a limited time). This exclusive time provides the incentives that companies need to take risks and continue investing in research and development.
On average, it costs a staggering $2.9 billion to develop a new drug and years to get to market with no guarantee of success at any point during the process. It is an expensive gamble but one that has led to many new breakthroughs and life-changing advancements in healthcare.
With this large and active R&D sector in place, the U.S. was poised to pounce on COVID-19 and deploy our nation’s labs to “science it” into submission. There was anticipation and sometimes doubt that it was going to happen, but with three vaccines ready for distribution in less than a year, it is at least time for a momentary fist pump. Our country’s Founding Fathers put us on this path by providing protection for the world’s best innovation engine: human ingenuity. It’s paying off.
Unfortunately, at the same time that we are celebrating this grand achievement, the outgoing Trump administration has proposed a rule that would largely put our ability to react to the next pandemic in jeopardy. With President-elect Joe Biden’s early messaging regarding pharmaceutical companies and the almost religious zeal of those in his party against these companies, the drug manufacturing industry doesn’t appear to have an out.”