Prescription drug price controls pose lethal problems

The Democratic primaries may be contentious, but both candidates agree on one point: government fiat must rein in prescription drug prices.

Hillary Clinton proposes caps on drug prices and a mandate that pharmaceutical companies spend a preset percentage of revenues on research and development. She’d confiscate any excess to subsidize public biomedical research institutions like the National Institutes of Health.

Bernie Sanders wants us to purchase drugs from single-payer government healthcare like that in Canada that sets drug prices, thereby importing our northern neighbor’s price-control policy.

The brains behind these proposals are misguided academics, including physicians.

Obamacare co-author bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel has declared, “Nobody disputes” that prescription drug prices are “out of control.”

Arthur Caplan, another celebrity bioethicist, protested the “high cost of drugs” on a popular physicians’ website, lamenting that “we are paying three times as much as Britain, six times as much as Brazil, [and] almost 18 times as much as India.”

Here’s how these authorities rationalize price controls: drug companies spend more on marketing than on research, their “net profits” are excessive and — industry leaders’ claims notwithstanding — unnecessary for the research on new drugs.