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The Trump Administration on July 31 announced steps that could lead to the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are lower. This strategy is favored by President Trump but has long been opposed by many Republicans. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the policy would enable Americans to “get the benefit of the deals that pharma themselves are striking with other countries.” The fate of this initiative is uncertain after the failure of the administration’s last two proposals...

The Trump Administration's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has officially proposed legalizing the importation of drugs from Canada (e.g. the Safe Importation Action Plan). Canadians’ reactions provide an important perspective demonstrating why drug importation will harm the U.S. Despite assurances from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadians are worried that the U.S. proposal will impose severe costs on Canadians. Their concerns are well founded. Typical of their reaction, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) has noted that the Canadian medicine supply is not equipped...

Without pro-market payment reforms, cutting edge medical treatments known as gene therapies run the risk of becoming the dance that no one attends. Gene therapies are not medicines, instead, they are akin to an organ transplant. These procedures typically use re-engineered viruses to repair, replace, or shut off malfunctioning genes that cause devastating diseases. For example, the newest gene therapy to obtain FDA approval, Zolgensma, could save the lives of people with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a fatal genetic disease. Children...

California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) recently made it official: Your morning cup of coffee won’t give you cancer. Next week’s newsflash probably will be, swallowing an orange seed doesn’t cause a tree to grow in your stomach. After more than a year of legal wrangling, OAL signed off on a proposed rule exempting coffee from Proposition 65, a decades-old voter-approved measure that requires warning labels on products that contain chemicals the state has deemed potentially carcinogenic. So that means cancer warning labels...

From the time we were toddlers, it has always been tempting to bang the square peg into the round hole. After all, there is always that one square peg that seems like it should just about fit into that round hole, and it would feel so satisfying if it did. Alas, square pegs don’t fit into round holes. The analogy is apropos for Congress’ current approach to drug prices. In the latest iteration, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)...

This year’s debate over Senate Bill 276 (Pan) has generated significant controversy in an area where there should be none – the importance of vaccinating all children from often deadly or debilitating communicable diseases. This debate comes as infectious diseases that used to claim the lives of one in six children before their fifth year are making an alarming comeback in California and nationwide. The culprits are parents who should know better – and the politicians who accommodate them. Parents of small...

The Trump Administration is proposing a litany of contradictory healthcare reforms. Some reforms will empower patients, improve incentives, and strengthen the healthcare system. Others empower bureaucrats, worsen incentives, and will restrict patients’ access to needed healthcare treatments. A better outcome will only emerge if the Administration jettisons the ill-advised proposals and focuses policy on eliminating the disincentives that pervade the current healthcare system. Starting with the bad, the Trump Administration is threatening to impose government-mandated price controls on pharmaceuticals. Of course, this...

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee has just released a bi-partisan bill authored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that would make health care more affordable and more transparent for patients. These reforms are not grandiose fantasies that are destined to fail, such as “Medicare for All”. Instead, the bill proposes modest “common sense” reforms that target specific inefficiencies and disincentives that plague the current health care system. For starters, the bill would promote greater...

Congress is poised to consider a bill that would allow Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada. The bill’s authors, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), label their effort as a bipartisan push to “help Americans who struggle to pay exorbitant prices for medication.” It’s noble of lawmakers to tackle prescription drug costs. Eight in ten Americans are concerned about the price of medicines, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. But the Grassley-Klobuchar bill isn’t the right solution. While it...