Healthcare

Why a vaccine should cost 250 EUR: Penny-wise and pound foolish

Even if the EU would pay a whopping 250 EUR per dose and 500 EUR per resident, it would end up paying merely a third of what’s being earmarked for the recovery fund.

Michael Bloomberg propels the WHO’s nanny state mission creep

Michael Bloomberg may have a domestic reputation as a tough-talking, three-term big-city mayor who blew hundreds of millions on a doomed presidential campaign, but around the world, his money talks.

For years, his charity Bloomberg Philanthropies has dispensed billions of dollars to global causes near and dear to the billionaire’s heart: climate change, public health, education, and the arts. As a result, in the developing world, Bloomberg’s private giving has propelled him into a kind of swashbuckling private government.

When he banned large sodas in New York City, he was only getting started. “Mayor Big Gulp” has global ambitions. Whether in Japan, India, Peru, or the Philippines, Bloomberg’s dangling of free money has led to jacking up tax rates on consumer products such as sodas and cigarettes, providing intellectual rigor for harsh bans and restrictions on alcohol and vaping devices, and coaxing health ministers to accept advertising restrictions on children’s cereals.

Thanks to his nanny state war chest, Bloomberg was named this week to a third term as the World Health Organization’s “Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries,” a mission he has personally funded for several years. While Bloomberg’s recent investments into COVID-19 response and research are laudable, his decadeslong mission to export the nanny state abroad via the WHO’s soft power is damaging, not to mention paternalistic. And the WHO has helped sow the seeds for the current pandemic more than we know.

The WHO has always been a bloated bureaucracy with sky-high luxury travel costs and an allergy to serious reform. But it was WHO’s failures in the 2013 Ebola outbreak that began to shed light on how it had lost its way. The organization admitted as much just six years ago. The Ebola outbreak “served as a reminder that the world, including WHO, is ill-prepared for a large and sustained disease outbreak,” it declared.

While inefficiency was the main culprit, it is not difficult to see how the WHO has been unfocused along. The mission creep of the WHO, focusing more on soda taxes and making e-cigarettes illegal in third-world countries, all funded by Bloomberg’s initiatives, helps explain the tepid response to the breakout of the coronavirus in China, which led to President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the health body in 2020. President Biden reversed that decision in his first days in office, without so much as a polite request for reform.

The various missteps of the WHO in the run-up to the pandemic, coupled with its wavering mission to protect us from global disease outbreaks, is a principal reason why we should oppose Bloomberg’s global nanny state expansion. Even now, Bloomberg’s charity is funneling millions into the health agencies of countries such as the Philippines and India, all in exchange for specific bans and consumer product restrictions, which have called into question the influence of the billionaire’s reach. That led Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut off some of Bloomberg’s purse strings in 2014 and has sparked recent investigations into Bloomberg’s shady donations to the Philippines’ FDA.

These actions are not only praised by the WHO but are facilitated and made necessary to receive any future funds. That is where the WHO is leading us astray. Rather than equipping doctors and health systems to fight the next pandemic, Bloomberg’s deep pockets deputize the WHO as a global police officer enforcing soda taxes, tobacco bans, and restrictions on vaping devices in the developing world.

Bloomberg’s global nanny mission creates problems for public health, and it is even more worrying for the prospect of a global disease outbreak that would make COVID-19 lockdowns look painless.

Yaël Ossowski (@YaelOss) is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group.

Originally published here.

Europe’s new Pharmaceutical Strategy needs adjustments

The existing IP framework of the EU has allowed us to get a vaccine before Christmas.

The rapid development of several highly effective vaccines against COVID19 is a great success for humanity. The United Kingdom was the world’s first country to approve a COVID vaccine, and hopefully soon, the European and US drug agencies will follow the UK’s lead.

Thanks to the very robust intellectual property (IP) framework the EU has, we were able to have the first effective COVID vaccine being developed in the EU (Germany) by a European company backed by European venture capitalists. The response of many innovative pharmaceutical and biotech companies has shown how important they are for humanity to respond to new threats such as COVID swiftly. Companies such as BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca have quickly responded early on by developing new and ground-breaking vaccines that will make 2021 most likely more enjoyable than this current year. The next pandemic might just be around the corner. Given how many humans have suffered and even lost their lives from COVID and the immense economic toll on Europeans, we need to do everything we can to foster and not stifle innovation in Europe.

Our resilience can only be increased by embracing innovation (the permission to use gene editing for covid vaccines is a good example) and allow risk-seeking investors such as venture capitalists and companies to benefit from their investments. Intellectual property rights are an essential factor. While the Commission’s new pharmaceutical strategy acknowledges IP rights as a safeguard for innovation, it also aggressively talks about centralizing pricing and reimbursement decisions away from member states and towards a unified European approach. This could be horrible news for our resilience when facing future public health crises. 

The COVID pandemic has worsened public and personal finances and hence reduces patients’ accessibility to medicines. If we want to increase access to drugs in all parts of Europe and, at the same time, maintain our high innovation incentives, we need to focus on creating more prosperity. Ultimately economic growth is the critical driver for allowing more patients to access the drugs they need. Loud rhetoric aimed at eroding patent rights is dangerous saber-rattling that might reduce our ability to innovate in the future and find cures for that 95% of known diseases we can’t cure yet.

We need to acknowledge that there are wealth disparities among EU member states, and we can’t have a one size fits all approach when it comes to access to medicines. EU-wide pricing decisions might delay introducing new medicines across the entire block and hence would be a raise to the bottom in terms of access to lifesaving drugs. We might risk getting innovative drugs at the time of their approval elsewhere in the world. Instead of loud and bold statements to negotiate drug prices down, the Commission should embrace innovation and also work on OECD-wide reciprocity of drug approvals. Why should EU citizens have to wait for the EMA to approve vaccines when they have already proved safe and available to UK residents? 

The EU Commission should maintain our excellent intellectual property standards and not intervene in the national rules for pricing and reimbursement decisions. Furthermore, it is paramount that governments refrain from picking winners in the race for new treatments and vaccines and therefore maintain technology neutrality. The German government, for instance, was quick to invest in one vaccine manufacturer early on. Still, despite a massive injection of taxpayer money, another German company won the race to be the first one with an effective vaccine. Europe is home to half of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies. We should not jeopardize this position but aim for more and not less innovation in the European Union.

Originally published here.

To beat cancer in Europe, let’s give vaping a chance

The European Union’s Beating Cancer plan is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle cancer by embracing innovation and consumer choice.

By following the footsteps of the UK, France, Australia, and New Zealand, we can further achieve our goals by endorsing vaping as a harm reduction tool with incredible potential to help reduce health-associated risks. By doing so, the EU could ensure a better future for smokers.

It has been stressed many times that vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking. And yet, despite the sound evidence at hand, anti-vaping rhetoric persists and continues to win the hearts and minds of European policymakers. However, in order to develop the most efficient and effective policies to tackle cancer, it is crucial to stay open-minded, and we should always be led by science over ideology.

Smoking-induced cancer takes nearly 700,000 lives every year in the EU, and various marketing schemes and branding restrictions haven’t succeeded in reducing these numbers. When conventional methods don’t work, innovation in the form of vaping must be embraced.

Unlike traditional cigarettes that create more than 7,000 chemicals when burned, 69 of which have been identified as potential carcinogens, vape liquids’ compounds are common food ingredients deemed safe and not harmful by regulatory bodies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Moreover, when compared to other alternatives in getting people to quit, including Nicotine Replace Therapy (NRT) patches and drugs, vaping has been found to be twice as effective.  

Vaping has the potential to drive down smoking-induced cancer rates significantly. The cancer risk of vaping relative to smoking is 0.4% according to a study conducted by the University of St. Andrews. The additional lifetime cancer risk for an e-cigarette user is 0,0095% compared to 2,4% of a smoker found by the same study. At present,t the European Union has 140 million smokers and many of them struggle to quit. Therefore, we need every possible method available to them to make quitting easier. We must expand their choices.

Consumer choice is more than an empty economic term: it is an essential part of our individual pursuit of what we perceive to be best for us, and the ability to do so voluntarily. The Europe Beating Cancer plan is a chance for Europe to inform smokers about vaping and how it can assist them in their efforts to quit. Another important part of the plan should be to actively encourage smokers to switch to vaping and guarantee access to vaping products for adults. 

Since it is impossible to change consumers’ smoking behaviour with a stick – not least because it is inhumane to disregard our freedom to choose – we need to go with encouragement and correct information as our main strategy. 

Creating and sustaining conditions under which adult smokers are able to switch to healthier options such as e-cigarettes is not only a forward-looking solution but also the one that would demonstrate the European Commission’s commitment to tackling cancer without undermining consumer choice. Europe’s Beating Cancer plan should become not just a policy roadmap, but also manifest Europe’s openness to innovation and recognition of freedom as the highest value. Smokers and future generations would be eternally grateful.

Originally published here.

The EU ‘should consistently charge no VAT on medicine’

In a recent move, the European Commission has suggested to EU member states to exempt Covid-19 diagnostic medical devices, as well as a potential vaccine, from value-added tax. The Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) has welcomed this move, since it incentivises a move to alleviate some of the burdens on patients and consumers as they deal with the pandemic. The CCC’s Managing Director and Health Economist Mr Fred Roeder said the EU should be more ambitious with regard to medicines.

“Member states would be right to implement VAT exemptions on medicines, not just in times of a crisis,” he commented.

“Too many patients in Europe pay too much for needed medicines because the government is taking too big of a cut. Some member states charge as much as 25 per cent for both over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, as well as prescription drugs. This burdens health insurance providers and patients alike”, said Mr Roeder.

“We should take the positive example of Malta, which is the only member state that charges no VAT for either OTC or prescription medicine, yet still manages to provide basic services to citizens. If we want to fund government services, we shouldn’t do it on the backs of patients who need medicine.

“We experience this great double standard in Europe: Politicians of major parties complain about the price of drugs on the continent, yet simultaneously charge large chunks of tax on the same drugs. It is time we end this inconsistency”, he concluded.

Originally published here.

Tarif PPN untuk Obat-Obatan di Eropa Diusulkan Maksimal 5%

Tarif PPN untuk Obat-Obatan di Eropa Diusulkan Maksimal 5%

Insentif pajak untuk barang-barang farmasi dinilai masih dibutuhkan mengingat kebutuhan masyarakat Eropa untuk produk kesehatan terus meningkat di tengah pandemi virus Corona atau Covid-19.

Analis Kebijakan dari The Consumer Choice Center Bill Wirtz mengatakan pembuat kebijakan di Eropa perlu merumuskan ulang kebijakan fiskal untuk produk farmasi pada masa pandemi Covid-19, terutama mengenai tarif PPN.Baca Juga: RS Ummi Bersiap Kena Sanksi Satgas Covid-19 Gegara Tak Lapor Hasil Swab Test Habib Rizieq

“Dalam komponen harga obat pendorong utama yang membuat harga menjadi lebih tinggi karena adanya pajak penjualan obat,” katanya dikutip Rabu (4/11).

Saat ini, lanjut Wirtz, sebagian besar negara Eropa masih memungut PPN untuk resep atau obat yang dijual secara bebas. Pungutan paling tinggi diterapkan Denmark dengan tarif PPN 25%. Lalu, Jerman mengenakan PPN 19% untuk resep obat dan produk obat yang dijual secara bebas.

Sementara itu, satu-satunya negara yang tidak memungut PPN atas resep obat atau obat yang dijual bebas adalah Malta. Kemudian negara seperti Luksemburg menerapkan tarif PPN rendah sebesar 3% untuk obat-obatan dan Spanyol dengan tarif PPN 4%.

Swedia dan Inggris menerapkan PPN 0% untuk resep obat yang dikeluarkan dokter. Namun, tetap memungut PPN 25% di Swedia dan PPN 20% di Inggris untuk obat yang dijual secara umum tanpa harus menyertakan resep obat dari dokter.

“Negara anggota Uni Eropa harus mencontoh Malta yang menurunkan tarif PPN sampai 0% untuk semua obat untuk mengurangi aktivitas komersial dan memastikan harga dijual dengan wajar,” ujar Wirtz.Baca Juga: Jika Vaksinasi Berjalan, Bisa Hentikan Penularan, Pulihkan Kesehatan, dan Bangkitkan Ekonomi

Wirtz berharap terdapat kesepakatan di antara negara anggota Uni Eropa untuk memastikan obat-obatan yang saat ini sangat vital dapat diakses oleh seluruh masyarakat dengan harga terjangkau. Misal, dengan mematok tarif PPN untuk obat-obatan maksimal 5%.

“Perlu adanya perjanjian mengikat untuk kebijakan tarif PPN dengan batas maksimal tarif 5% untuk menurunkan harga obat, meningkatkan aksesibilitas dan menciptakan Eropa yang lebih adil,” tutur Wirtz seperti dilansir eureporter.co

Originally published here.

Piano Ue contro il cancro, il Parlamento dà spazio alla sigaretta elettronica

Pietro Fiocchi (FdI), membro della Commissione parlamentare che sta stilando un rapporto per il piano, assicura che vi sarà un paragrafo sul vaping.

Il rapporto che lo Special Committee on cancer del Parlamento europeo consegnerà alla Commissione come contributo per il Piano contro il cancro includerà un paragrafo sulla sigaretta elettronica. A rivelarlo è stato l’europarlamentare italiano Pietro Fiocchi (Fratelli d’Italia), durante un incontro organizzato questa mattina dalla sede a Bruxelles della Camera di commercio britannica, incentrato proprio sul Beating Cancer Plan dell’Unione europea. Sottotitolo dell’evento, prevenire è meglio che curare e proprio sugli strumenti e le best practice in materia di prevenzione verteva l’intervento di Fiocchi. Il parlamentare italiano, che è relatore ombra della Commissione speciale sul cancro dell’Europarlamento ha aggiunto che “è importante che il paragrafo sul vaping contenga le cose giuste”, cioè presumibilmente che tratti la sigaretta elettronica come strumento di riduzione del danno da fumo.

Lo scorso ottobre, Fiocchi aveva presentato una interrogazione alla Commissione europea, chiedendo se nel piano europeo di lotta contro il cancro si stesse prendendo in considerazione la riduzione del danno provocato dal tabacco. “Può la Commissione – si leggeva nel testo della interrogazione – riferire se sta valutando la possibilità di promuovere l’adozione di misure preventive, come ad esempio strategie di riduzione dei danni? Come intende affrontare l’importanza della riduzione dei danni nel piano di lotta contro il cancro, ad esempio raccomandando politiche che incoraggino l’uso di prodotti a base di nicotina a rischio ridotto o campagne di sensibilizzazione per un consumo responsabile di alcol? Durante il processo di consultazione pubblica, la Commissione si è rivolta a gruppi di riflessione in rappresentanza dei consumatori che hanno beneficiato di metodi di riduzione del danno, come l’uso della sigaretta elettronica?”.

Ora lo stesso europarlamentare riferisce che, almeno per quanto riguarda il contributo del Parlamento, la riduzione del danno in generale e la sigaretta elettronica in particolare avranno uno spazio. Le parole di Fiocchi hanno raccolto il plauso dell’associazione World Vapers’Alliance, che da mesi conduce a Bruxelles una battaglia su questo tema. “Ci sentiamo estremamente incoraggiati dall’impegno dell’onorevole Fiocchi – ha dichiarato il direttore Michael Landl – per includere la sigaretta elettronica nel rapporto del Parlamento sul cancro. I parlamentari europei hanno la possibilità di prevenire migliaia di casi di cancro in tutta l’Unione europea, aiutando i fumatori a passare alla sigaretta elettronica”. “Ora è fondamentale – auspica Landl – che i colleghi di Fiocchi seguano il suo esempio e sostengano il vaping”.

Originally published here.

POUR PLUS D’ACCÈS AUX SOINS, RÉDUISONS LA TVA À ZÉRO SUR LES MÉDICAMENTS !

Alors que les Européens sont confrontés à une crise de santé publique, il serait nécessaire d’accroître l’accessibilité des médicaments en supprimant la TVA sur les biens les plus essentiels.

La pandémie de Covid-19 a remis à l’ordre du jour la politique de santé des décideurs européens. Avant l’épidémie, l’Europe était engagée dans un débat sur le prix des médicaments, mais cela n’intéressait que les échelons supérieurs des institutions politiques.

Les entreprises pharmaceutiques sont souvent blâmées, de même que le manque de transparence des prix. Un examen plus approfondi des coûts des médicaments montre cependant que l’une des principales causes de ces coûts élevés est la taxe sur les ventes de médicaments.

Les patients informés savent que tous les pays européens, sauf un, appliquent la TVA sur les médicaments en vente libre et les médicaments délivrés sur ordonnance. L’Allemagne impose jusqu’à 19% de TVA sur les médicaments, tandis que le Danemark se classe en tête, avec des taux de 25%, soit un cinquième du prix total d’un médicament !

La France applique un taux relativement faible de 2,1% de TVA sur les médicaments remboursables et 10% sur ceux qui ne sont pas remboursables.

Et chez les autres ?

Il n’y a qu’un seul pays qui ne perçoit pas de TVA sur les médicaments délivrés sur ordonnance ou en vente libre : il s’agit de l’île de Malte. Le Luxembourg (3%) et l’Espagne (4%) montrent également que les taux modestes de TVA sur les médicaments ne sont pas une idée folle, mais quelque chose dont des millions d’Européens bénéficient déjà.

La Suède et le Royaume-Uni appliquent tous deux un taux de TVA de 0% sur les médicaments délivrés sur ordonnance, mais de 25% et 20% respectivement sur les médicaments en vente libre.

Il est évident que l’un des principaux obstacles à un meilleur accès aux médicaments est la politique fiscale inadéquate de certains Etats membres de l’Union européenne (UE).

La TVA à 0% partout ?

Lorsque les autorités discutent de l’accès aux soins, il serait intéressant qu’elles se penchent sur ce problème dont elles sont les seules responsables avant de parler de l’érosion des droits de propriété intellectuelle ou de l’influence des grandes sociétés pharmaceutiques sur la fixation des prix.

C’est particulièrement le cas des médicaments délivrés sur ordonnance ou les médicaments contre le cancer qui peuvent atteindre des niveaux de prix substantiels avec des taux de TVA allant jusqu’à 25%. De telles taxes pèsent lourdement sur les patients et leur assurance-maladie.

En ce qui concerne les médicaments délivrés sur ordonnance, il n’est guère judicieux de commencer par appliquer une taxe sur la valeur ajoutée, puis de laisser les compagnies d’assurance-maladie nationales payer la note.

Pour les médicaments en vente libre, les décideurs politiques sont aveuglés par l’idée que le simple fait qu’ils ne soient pas prescrits par les médecins en fait des biens secondaires et non-essentiels.

De nombreux médicaments en vente libre, qu’il s’agisse de médicaments contre les maux de tête, les brûlures d’estomac, les remèdes respiratoires ou les crèmes dermatologiques, ne sont pas seulement des médicaments indispensables pour des millions d’Européens ; ils font souvent office de soins préventifs. Plus nous taxons ces produits, plus nous accablons les médecins de visites non essentielles.

A l’instar de Malte, les pays européens devraient abaisser leur taux de TVA à 0% sur tous les médicaments. Le but de la TVA est de réduire l’activité commerciale, en s’assurant que toutes les transactions commerciales paient ce qui est considéré comme leur juste part. Cela permet de toucher également les entreprises qui ne paient traditionnellement pas d’impôts sur les sociétés.

Cependant, considérer la vente de médicaments comme une transaction purement commerciale, du point de vue des patients, est une erreur. Des millions de citoyens ont besoin chaque jour de médicaments spécifiques délivrés sur ordonnance, et d’autres comptent sur l’aide de médicaments en vente libre pour soulager la douleur ou traiter des problèmes qui ne nécessitent pas de soins médicaux professionnels.

Il est temps que les nations européennes se mettent d’accord sur un accord contraignant de TVA zéro sur les médicaments ou au moins sur un plafond de 5%, ce qui permettrait de réduire drastiquement les prix des médicaments, d’accroître l’accessibilité aux soins et de créer une Europe plus juste.

Originally published here.

WHO Reverses Course, Now Advises Against Use of ‘Punishing’ Lockdowns

Even as the WHO calls on nations to refrain from imposing lockdowns, many governments continue to use this strategy.

For months, an overwhelming majority of the planet’s population has been subject to cruel and unnerving lockdowns: businesses closed, travel restricted, and social gatherings kept to a minimum.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have sunk our economies, kept loved ones apart, derailed funerals, and made personal and economic liberty a casualty as much as our health. One report states it could cost us $82 trillion globally over the next five years – roughly the same as our yearly global GDP.

Many of these initial lockdowns were justified by policy recommendations by the World Health Organization.

The WHO’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, writing in a strategy update in April, called on nations to continue lockdowns until the disease was under control.

But now, more than six months since lockdowns became a favored political tool of global governments, the WHO is calling for their swift end.

Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, told Spectator UK’s Andrew Neil last week that politicians have been wrong in using lockdowns as the “primary control method” to combat COVID-19.

“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” said Nabarro.

Dr. Michael Ryan, Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, offered a similar sentiment.

“What we want to try to avoid – and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that – but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else,” said Dr. Ryan, speaking at a briefing in Geneva. 

These are stunning statements from an organization that has been a key authority and moral voice responsible for handling the global response to the pandemic.

Cues from the WHO have underpinned each and every national and local lockdown, threatening to push 150 million people into poverty by the end of the year.

As Nabarro stated, the vast majority of the people harmed by these lockdowns have been the worse off.

We all know people who have lost their businesses, lost work, and seen their life savings go up in smoke. That’s especially true for those who work in the service and hospitality industries, which have been decimated by lockdown policies.

And even as the WHO calls on nations to refrain from imposing lockdowns, many governments continue to use this strategy. Schools in many US states remain closed, bars and restaurants are off-limits, and large gatherings–apart from social justice protests–are condemned and shut down by force.

The effects of the prolonged lockdowns on young people are now becoming more clear. A recent study from Edinburgh University says keeping schools shut down will increase the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Added to that, the study says lockdowns “prolong the epidemic, in some cases resulting in more deaths long-term.”

If we want to avoid any more harm, we should immediately end these disastrous policies. Any fresh calls to impose lockdowns should now be viewed with the utmost skepticism.

It’s time for the madness to end. Not only because the World Health Organization says so, but because our very lives depend on it.

As the doctors and scientists stated in the Grand Barrington Declaration signed this month in Massachusetts, the “physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies” have themselves caused devastating effects on both short and long-term health.

We cannot continue to risk our health and well-being in the long-term by shutting in our economies and our people in the short-term. That’s the only way forward if we seek to recover from the ruinous effects of government policy surrounding COVID-19.

Originally published here.

Trump’s drug import plan will make us all pay

Make Canada Great Again?

Believe it or not, that’s what is at the center of President Donald Trump’s latest executive order aimed at trying to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

Trump’s plan, dubbed the “Most-Favored-Nation-Price” model, would effectively import price controls on pharmaceuticals from other nations with single-payer, government-run health systems, including Canada.

With this order, Trump will force Medicare to pay the same negotiated rates as other countries that don’t have the same level of innovation or access to medicines as the U.S

That means that while drug prices for certain seniors will be lower in the short term, it will mean higher costs in the long-term, jeopardizing future drug development, and access. And that will be bad for every American, not to mention our retirees on Medicare.

As an example, modern drug development requires not only massive investment but also time and the ability to experiment through trial and error. Only one of every 5,000-10,000 substances synthesized will make it successfully through all stages of product development to become an approved drug. That’s a big risk and one that only pays off if these drugs can be sold and used. 

Many projects fail to bring even one drug to market. Investing in life sciences requires a healthy risk appetite, and therefore an incentive scheme that rewards those able to create value is necessary. 

By the time a medical drug reaches the regular patient, an average of 12.5 years will have elapsed since the first discovery of the new active substance. The total investment needed to get to one active substance that can be accessed by a patient is around $2 billion. And that is just for medicines we already know we need.

There are over 10,000 known diseases in the world but approved treatment for merely 500 of them. It may be easy to dictate lower prices for these medicines, but that will mean that drug developers will not have the same means to invest in research for the remaining 95% of diseases we cannot yet cure.

Added to that, the U.S. can count on access to all sorts of innovative medicines because of our innovators and inventors.

By forcing lower prescription drug prices for our elderly, Trump seems eager to harm our ability to find cures for those who still hope for the development of a cure for their untreatable diseases and future access to the medicines we need.

Such a move may play well in voter rich Florida, with a large population of seniors anxious about drug prices, but it shatters the unique mix of both innovation and entrepreneurship that leads the U.S. to be the world’s top creator and supplier of badly-needed drugs. Half of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world are headquartered in our country, and for good reason.

Trump, for his part, claims that this will stop “free-riding” from other nations on the US’ relatively high drug prices. And that is indeed a concern that touches many of us. But such a rash plan will put a chokehold on innovation across the entire sector of our drug industry.

If Trump wants other countries to “pay their fair share” on drug prices, the best method is by trade agreements and negotiation, not by emulating anti-innovation policies from other nations.

To achieve cheaper drug prices, there are simpler and cheaper ways to tackle this.

For one, the president should be open to a reform of the Food and Drug Administration. Too much time is lost trying to get drugs approved across every industrialized country. If we recognized drug approvals from all other countries in the OECD, this would lower costs and accelerate the pace of bringing drugs to the US market.

We cannot risk our entire drug infrastructure for the hope of short-term lower costs. If the Trump administration wants our nation to remain a shining beacon of innovation and allows its patients to access state-of-the-art medicine, we should not import bad policies from abroad.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center.

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