Letters to the Editor
The Wall Street Journal
Alan Murray?s Nov. 11 column ?Drug Makers? Paths of Influence Need to be less Hidden? accuses the Galen Institute of being in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies because of our opposition to legalizing prescription drug imports from Canada and other countries.
He could not be more wrong. We are a public policy research organization that studies and analyzes issues based upon our strong convictions that innovation and competition hold the keys to solving many of the problems in our health system.
The drug importation issue is the fulcrum of the debate over Medicare, embodying the question of whether innovation-killing price controls or private sector competition will be employed to deliver a prescription drug benefit in Medicare. Our opposition to drug importation is part and parcel of our belief system, a position that is shared by thoughtful political leaders and policy analysts on both sides of the aisle.
We believe that there are genuine risks to public safety by opening up our borders to imported drugs. Drug importation also is a tacit acceptance of price controls and threatens intellectual property rights, both of which would cripple new drug discovery. These concerns are not threats solely to the pharmaceutical industry but to all of America’s most productive industries.
We work tirelessly at the Galen Institute for ideas to provide help for the uninsured, to get good prescription drug coverage to seniors, especially those with low incomes, and to energize the coming revolution in consumer driven health care. The drug importation debate, while important, consumes at most 10 percent of our time.
We are engaged in these battles on the merits and are not beholden to any group, including the pharmaceutical industry. We have a broad base of support from foundations, individuals, and companies who support us because they believe in our work to fight for free markets and doctor/patient control over decisions.
Murray missed the mark on this one. He should focus instead, as we do, on serious policy analysis, not reckless accusations.
President, Galen Institute