Cory Booker Made the Right Call [View all]
From Rationak , DailyKos:
Cory Booker Made the Right Call
From the diary:
"His (Booker's) response was panned and often based on information from a widely shared article from New Republic newrepublic.com/...that portrays the safety argument as a disingenuous industry lie. But did Alex Shephard in his article really examine the basic facts, or give Booker the benefit of the doubt he deserves? Not only did he not do that, but he also did not provide any evidence to back up his audacious claims that connect Bookers vote to him being under the sway of the pharmaceutical industry, and many of Bookers other votes, including the SA 188, the vote immediately after SA 178 contradict that claim.
Lets begin by gaining a larger understanding of the safety claim. Mike Enzi (R -WY) responded to the introduction of the amendment by giving some history:
"They actually have a very strong point. This is a budget appropriations bill and thus would not be able to give power for the FDA to regulate these imports. We are asked to believe that there is no concern, because coming from Canada these drugs would allegedly be subjected to the same safety standards as the U.S. and often be coming from the same factories, but this is largely untrue due to some of the regulatory peculiarities concerning how Canada exports drugs. Most importantly, drugs that are marked for export are not actually subject to ANY regulation by the Canadian government. That means any startup company could bring in drugs manufactured in countries with zero regulations, and then directly sell them without oversight from the Canadian government, to pharmacies and hospitals in the U.S. without any regulatory power from the FDA. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/F-27/section-37-20161212.html#wb-cont
This reveals the real and potential danger of this amendment, and also why someone like Senator Ted Cruz would be in favor of it. It undermines the FDA, which like any regulatory agency is not without its flaws, but which also undeniably plays an important role in maintaining a standard of safety in our prescription drugs. In the so-called free market frontier of a post-ACA world people who rely upon complex life saving medicines, hospitals would have an unmitigated ability to distribute medications without any oversight or obligation to disclose where they came from.
This is about so much more than just ordering online prescriptions. When the article in The New Republic uses that comparison, it misses the mark completely. It also ignores the fact that there HAVE been problems with online prescriptions : https://news.vice.com/article/a-canadian-pharmacy-is-accused-of-selling-counterfeit-cancer-drugs-to-us-doctors or http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/31/health/counterfeit-medications/
Regardless of some of the dangers, Americans are able to currently order supplies of less than three months from online pharmacies, and the current policy of the FDA is to look the other way.
"The truth, is that it is nothing more than an optical band-aid for a problem that cannot be addressed under our current health care system. The reason why drugs are cheaper in Canada is because they have a single payer health system that negotiates the prices. In the U.S. we have a differential market system that provides ample opportunity for price gouging. When the same companies are manufacturing the drugs that go to both the U.S. and Canada, if large amounts of drugs start being re-imported, then the companies will just limit their exports to Canada. They already have done so in fact. https://hbr.org/2016/02/why-importing-cheap-pharmaceuticals-from-canada-wont-work
Canada has not always in unison welcomed the idea of being Americas pharmacy. They already took steps on their own in 2005 to restrict the flow, properly pointing out that the solution to Americas health care is not to expect a country of 36 million to suddenly provide prescription medications for all of America. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/29/AR2005062901632.html
At the heart of this, is the accusation that senators voting against this amendment are afraid to stand up to big pharm as Bernie Sanders stormed, or as the Shephard article in The New Republic attempts to prove, that financial incentives from big pharm are behind the nay votes. There are some huge errors in this logic, and in the very selected information (or lack thereof) we are presented. Much attention was drawn to pharm donations to Booker, but a lot of other convenient information was left out, but we can fill in the gaps."
And the article goes on.
Also worth reading: https://cenlamar.com/2017/01/14/if-bernie-sanders-cares-about-cheaper-drugs-he-should-stop-smearing-his-colleagues-for-rejecting-his-flawed-amendment/
I know some love to pick on Cory for any number of reasons, but the outrage over his vote is ridiculous.