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.

Consumer Choice Center Joins Coalition Opposed To Most Favored Nation Drug Pricing Proposal

Dear President Trump:

On behalf of the undersigned federal and state-based organizations, we write to express our grave concerns with the “most favored nation” (MFN) executive order to impose foreign price controls on American medicines.

This proposal will impose an “International Pricing Index” on drugs in Medicare Part B, tying the U.S. prices for these medicines to the prices in foreign countries, most of which have government-set prices established in socialized medicine systems.

Adopting these price controls will slow medical innovation, threaten American jobs, and undermine criticism of single-payer systems. In addition, a United States embrace of price controls will make it immeasurably more difficult to get foreign countries to pay their own way in the development of new medicines.

Your administration has repeatedly stood strong against a government-takeover of healthcare. In fact, in your 2020 State of the Union Address, you promised that “we will never let socialism destroy American health care.”

We applaud your strong stance – socialized healthcare policies proposed by some leading presidential candidates would require trillions of dollars in tax increases, would destroy medical progress, and would end healthcare plans used by 180 million Americans.

Unfortunately, an MFN policy would adopt the same socialist healthcare policies that you have promised to fight against.

Not only does this undermine the broader effort to fight against the government takeover of health care, it will also have disastrous consequences to the economy and healthcare system.

The U.S. is the best in the world when it comes to developing innovative, lifesaving and life preserving medicines. Because of this, the U.S. is leading the way when it comes to developing COVID-19 vaccines, with several promising candidates entering the final stages of testing and clinical trials.

In contrast, foreign countries have been free riding off this American medical innovation for decades through crushing price controls and other market-distorting government rules and regulations.

Adopting foreign price controls will result in the same negative outcomes to our healthcare system as those overseas—less medical innovation leading to fewer cures and healthcare shortages for American patients.

Adopting price controls through an MFN will also harm the U.S. economy because of a decline in American research and development. Medical innovation directly or indirectly supports 4 million jobs and $1.1 trillion in total economic impact, which will be threatened by importing price controls.

An MFN does nothing to fight foreign free riding of American innovation. Although supporters of MFN have claimed the concept will incentivize manufacturers to negotiate better deals, this theory is based on the flawed assumption that American manufacturers were not fighting as hard as they could against foreign price controls in past years. In addition, an American adoption of these same policies renders any future criticism of them incredibly challenging.

Moving forward, we need policies that further encourage American innovation through tax and trade policies, such as renegotiated trade deals, a competitive business tax system and a more competitive environment.

As President, you have championed vital changes in tax and regulatory policies that have allowed free market innovation to flourish. We believe a market-based approach like those that your administration has consistently supported in other policy areas will lead to economic growth and promising new treatments but adopting price controls through the MFN plan would undermine rather than build on those successes. In short, if the MFN executive order is implemented it will have disastrous consequences for both American healthcare and the American economy.


Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Jim Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus

Marty Connors
Leader, Alabama Center-Right

Bethany Marcum
Executive Director, Alaska Policy

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Daniel Schneider
Executive Director, American
Conservative Union

Dee Stewart
President, Americans for a
Balanced Budget

Richard Manning
President, Americans for Limited

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer,
Americans for Prosperity

Lisa B. Nelson

Michael Bowman
President, ALEC Action

Kevin Waterman
Chair, Annapolis Center-Right
Coalition Meeting (Maryland)

Robert Alt
President and CEO, The Buckeye Institute

Rabbi Aryeh Spero
President, Caucus for America

Ryan Ellis
President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeffrey Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Ginevra Joyce-Myers
Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Free Enterprise

Peter Pitts
President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

John Hinderaker
President, Center of the American Experiment

Thomas Schatz
President, Citizens Against Government Waste

Leo Knepper
CEO, Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

Donald Bryson
President & CEO, Civitas Institute

Regina Thomson
President, Colorado Issues Coalition

Gregory Conko
Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

James Edwards
Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights

Matthew Kandrach
President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Fred Roeder
Health Economist/Managing Director, Consumer Choice Center

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Joel White
President, Council for Affordable Health Coverage

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Robert Roper
President, Ethan Allen Institute

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

Annette Meeks
CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Grace Marie-Turner
President, Galen Institute
(organization listed for affiliation purposes only)

Ray Chadwick,
Chairman, Granite State Taxpayers

Naomi Lopez
Director of Healthcare Policy, Goldwater Institute

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Carrie Lukas
President, Independent Women’s Forum

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Andrew Langer
President, Institute for Liberty

Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Sal Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy, James Madison Institute

Amy Oliver Cooke
CEO, John Locke Foundation

Drew Cline
President, Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Seton Motley
President, Less Government

Jay Fisher
Immediate Past Chairman, Lisle Township Republican Organization

Doug McCullough
Director, Lone Star Policy Institute

Lindsay Killen
Vice President for Strategic Outreach, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Brett Healy
President, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Matt Gagnon
President, Maine Policy Institute

Charles Sauer
President, Market Institute

Dee Hodges
President, Maryland Taxpayers Association, Inc

Gene Clem
Spokesman, Michigan Tea Party Alliance

Jameson Taylor, Ph.D.
Vice President for Policy, Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Tim Jones
Chair, Missouri Center-Right Coalition
Fmr. Speaker, Missouri House

David A. Ridenour
President, National Center for Public Policy Research

Everett Wilkinson
Chairman, National Liberty Federation

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

John Tsarpalas
President, Nevada Policy Research Institute

Scott Pullins
Founder, Ohio Taxpayers Association

Doug Kellogg
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform

Sally Pipes
President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute

Ellen Weaver
President & CEO, Palmetto Promise Institute

Daniel Erspamer
Chief Executive Officer, Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Ed Martin
President, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

Stone Washington
Member, Project 21

Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation

Bette Grande
President & CEO, Roughrider Policy Center

James L. Setterlund
Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Paul E. Vallely, Major General, US Army (ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America US Foundation

Richard Watson
Chair, Tallahassee Center-Right Coalition

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Sara Croom
Executive Director, Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity

C. Preston Noell III
President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Lynn Taylor
President, Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Trump Lays Foundation for Deregulation — Now He Should Cement It

How do you modernize the United States, make it open to innovation, free its entrepreneurs, and show that it is open for business?

For decades, conservatives have made the case for deregulation as a way to relieve burdensome D.C. regulations. During his rallies, President Trump vaunts the advantages of cutting red tape, showing how regulation increases compliance costs for businesses, and ultimately ends up costing consumers. Slowly but surely, he has put that rhetoric into action as well. But will it be enough?

In 2017, through Executive Order 13771, President Trump pushed an excellent rule through that demands agencies repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation. It also ensures that, as they do so, the total cost of the regulations does not increase. This order made cutting through the regulatory jungle of the swamp an institutional task.

New executive orders signed by President Trump on October 9 will also help fight the longstanding problem of regulatory overreach. At the signing ceremony for these new declarations, Trump lambasted the thousands of pages of guidance documents that have been issued by bureaucrats as a “back door for regulators to effectively change the law” without going through the full comment period and approval process. His new orders require agencies to treat the guidance as non-binding, make all guidance readily available to the public, and take public input in notice and comment periods.

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said that “these orders strike deep blows against an increasingly lawless, power-drunk administrative state.”

He’s right: it will certainly help the White House to clamp down on cases of abuse that receive enough public attention. However, what about the ones that don’t?

Unfortunately, this has all too often become the case. Power-hungry bureaucrats have become rather comfortable with quietly ignoring the Executive Orders currently on the books and getting away with it by operating in the shadows, outside of the public realm. For example, a number of conservative groups have drawn attention to a recent flagrant example of how bureaucrats have been caught disregarding Trump’s regulatory alleviation efforts.

In a coalition letter, thirteen conservative and free-market organizations, including Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, Americans for Limited Government, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, singled out Notice No. 176, a new rule proposed by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as emblematic for the above mentioned phenomenon.

As pointed out by the conservative groups, the new notice will more than double the amount of regulation set in the distilled spirits market. It seemingly comes in violation with not only Trump’s Executive Order 13771, but also Executive Order 12866 from the Clinton years, which requires a cost-benefit analysis for any new regulation that is economically significant.

TTB also frequently runs into the problem of overzealous guidance documents that Trump is aiming to fix. Nevertheless, this raises the question: what good will Trump’s new executive order be for bureaus and agencies that already have a history of ignoring his past ones?

Situations show that many bureaucrats, blinded by their lust for power, won’t respect executive orders just for the sake of it. A myriad of regulators will find the most convoluted ways of wiggling their way out of applying the actual law. And so, if the White House wants its admirable effort of deregulation to continue onwards, it needs to consider making personnel changes in cases when holdover bureaucrats disregard the laws that govern them.

In the case of TTB, it is quite simple. The current administrators are serving on an interim basis after an unexpected vacancy, and it would not require Senate approval to replace them. With other agencies that do require such approval, it will be more time-consuming and difficult but still nevertheless worth it. After all, it’s the only way to ensure that the anti-consumer red tape is ultimately lifted.

Bringing in people who believe in free enterprise as chief administrators will be the true key to reducing the federal government to a more adequate size. Previous administrations have shown the success a president can have when he makes sweeping changes to the people in bureaucracies.

The current administration is building a foundation of helpful deregulation, now it just needs to cement it in.

Originally published here.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Transatlantic dialogue and not tariff war is the future of EU-US relationship

The World Trade Organization today has published a ruling giving the US the green light to impose punitive tariffs on the EU over the tariff on the EU subsidies for Airbus.

Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center says: “We hope policy makers will consider rejecting the use of tariffs to escalate the dispute between Airbus and Boeing. These tariffs will not only hurt the aerospace industry but also many other sectors and especially consumers. As there is a new European Parliament and very soon a new European Commission this is the right time for both EU and USA to bury the axe of war and restart the transatlantic dialogue” continued Bertoletti.

“The EU-US relationship is the strongest of the world and it should be based on common market challenges such as how to deal with growing authoritarianism in China, not on a commercial war among free nations which will just hurt consumers” concluded Bertoletti.

Read more here

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Green Activists Hate Trump More Than They Love Animals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just made history by announcing a plan to end wasteful taxpayer-funded animal testing by 2035. This is a huge win, but regulation-happy green groups criticizing the move have made clear that they hate the Trump administration more than they love animals and the environment.

Upon its release, the EPA’s landmark proposal was welcomed by animal-loving taxpayer advocates like us, as well as industry leaders, animal advocates, and scientists because it will eliminate wasteful and misleading animal tests that reduce consumer access to safe products, cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually, handcuff industry, and needlessly harm animals. The news even united lawmakers at far opposite ends of the political spectrum like Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen who worked together with White Coat Waste Project to expose the EPA’s animal tests last year.

Bloomberg’s Adam Allington tweeted, “In a rare moment of accord, the Trump EPA has done something many progressives can get behind — Setting a fairly ambitious plan to phase out chemical testing on animals.”

But not all progressives are cheering. In response to the EPA’s announcement, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) voiced partisan outrage, alleging: “Trump Administration Guts Collection of Data on Toxic Chemicals.” NRDC alleges that without animal studies, it would be “much harder to identify toxic chemicals — and protect human health.” How so?

Animal testing represents the dark-ages of regulatory policy. It was more relevant when our tools to measure risk were primitive, but today’s technology allows much more precise ways to evaluate real-world risks. Researchers have repeatedly shown that 21st century technologies based on human biology — not crude and contrived tests in which rabbits, dogs and other animals are forced to swallow and breathe massive doses of chemicals — are best at predicting health effects in humans. Because of the inherent uncertainty of extrapolating from results on animals to humans, it is necessary to build in huge safety factors for human exposure.

But now, with more accurate scientific methods, we no longer need to rely on animal studies and the precautionary regulatory limits we had to accept a generation ago. Better precision will allow us to safely benefit from advanced chemistry such as the use of silicones which are essential to environmentally-friendly technologies such as modern energy-efficient lighting.

So why would environmental activists, who we’d think have an affinity towards animals, be up in arms over the move? We have a theory.

It’s that these activists are so hell-bent on banning synthetic chemicals that they are willing to support outmoded risk analysis tools to achieve their political agenda, even if it requires torturing animals.

An NRDC staffer told reporters about the modern non-animal tests, “If the tests themselves are not indicating a toxic effect, then EPA is presuming there is no toxic effect.” So, even though these new technologies are more accurate at predicting human risks, the greens apparently prefer the animal tests precisely because of the uncertainty they introduce, which can delay or prevent safe products from coming to market.

Last year, based on misleading animal testing, a California judge ordered Starbucks and other coffee sellers in the state to put cancer warnings on coffee. But it turned out the results were irrelevant to humans, for whom normal amounts of coffee consumption is safe, and the warning was called off.

Warning about a product when risks are not well-understood is prudent. But it would be absurd to continue to warn after the best science tells us there’s nothing to worry about, like in the case of 1,000 studies showing coffee is safe for humans and actually has health benefits. That’s exactly what environmentalists want.

Why? They have an extreme agenda that seeks to eliminate as many synthetic chemicals as possible based on an unscientific view that synthetic chemicals are killing the earth. So to gain broader public support, they’ve long feasted on uncertainty about human health allegations to build support for their anti-chemical ideology. But with better regulatory science now available, the ploy is no longer viable.

The move should please just about everyone except for extremists. A 2018 national poll found that 79 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats want to cut EPA’s animal testing.

Scientific innovation, appropriate regulation and bold leadership can resolve some of the world’s most intractable problems — and advance a more civil society at the same time.

Opposition to the EPA’s embrace of better regulatory science exposes the true colors of the radical green groups: they are willing to needlessly sacrifice not only animals, but scientific advances themselves, in order to achieve their narrow agenda.

Originally published here.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 

Sorry Mr. Trump, we’re not “Chinese propaganda” on trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to denounce several articles in the Des Moines Register as Chinese “propaganda ads” because of the facts presented on trade and tariffs. Included was an article written by the Consumer Choice Center that revealed the impact of tariffs on communities in North and South Carolina, which could affect up to 150,000 […]

How the Carolinas could suffer from Trump’s tariffs

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: In the last election and on the global stage, President Donald Trump talked tough on trade. It’s us versus them and we’re losing, he says. Put simply, he views the current trade deficit, when we import more from a country than we export to it, as detrimental to American jobs. Since January, that trade […]

When it comes to Canadian dairy, Trump is right

HAMILTON SPECTATOR: In most circumstances, President Trump is wrong about trade, but he is right to call Canada’s supply management system a “disgrace.”

Contrary to Trump, the Postal Service needs Amazon

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: The antagonism Trump is showing to Amazon is profoundly misplaced, and if his attacks on Amazon lead to antitrust action, this could spell the death knell for many innovative businesses that have come to depend on the company.

Donald #Trump wants tariff-free trade on goods. Why doesn’t the Commission take him up on it?

EU REPORTER: In the looming trade war between the European Union and the United States, the consensus seems to be, that means to avoid this crisis are spare. Jean-Claude Juncker made it clear in a speech in Hamburg that “we also have to be this stupid”, in reference to the retaliatory tariffs on a number of […]

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