The Right Coast

October 16, 2004
Canadians on drugs
By Tom Smith

AA is correct about drugs from Canada. I have known this for some time, but have been too busy to write about it. Our plucky neighbors in the great white North free ride off American drug companies and we who buy drugs at market prices. If everybody paid Canadian prices, there wouldn't be any new drugs to buy, because the Canadians are paying prices that don't include the costs of R&D. If everyone tries to free ride, the ride sinks.

Maybe we should pass some law to prevent the rest of the world from free riding on Americans who are paying for this pharmeceutical gravy train. Not very good metaphor, but you see what I mean.

If you meet a socialist, he will say, "so let's regulate the prices in the US and Canada, and put it at a level that will provide for adequate R and D!" How much is adequate? Well, we'll have to set up a bureau of medical research to decide that, and how to allocate it among the various companies. What about new entrants to the market? You can't have everything. Competition is overrated. It's just one of the many beautiful things about regulation. The more you do, the more you need to do.

On a related point -- Not to be mean about it, but, if the Canadian health care system is so great, what's with all the bad teeth? Does the toothpaste freeze or something? I'm not saying everyone should have teeth like John Kerry, but come on.