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I have been fearful that John McCain’s occasional use of phrases like “safe importation of drugs” meant that he was eventually going to endorse the re-importing of pharmaceuticals from Canada. Alas, AP has confirmed my fears:
Republican presidential contender John McCain on Saturday said he wants to again allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada as a way to bring health care costs under control.
Although I have discussed various arguments against this notion before, the myth that re-importation will reduce domestic drug prices deserves to be debunked again. As Nina Owcharenko, of the Heritage Foundation, puts it:
Economists, both liberal and conservative, agree that drug prices will not drop in the United States as much as they will rise abroad. The Congressional Budget Office concluded that allowing importation would reduce prescription drug spending by only about 1 percent and that importation from Canada would result in a “negligible reduction in drug spending.”
In promoting this bad idea, McCain joins the dubious company of Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul. That he has aligned himself with a confirmed statist like the former and a certified wackjob like the latter should give his supporters pause.