We started importing auto parts from Mexico and China, and the American automotive industry collapsed.
Ask anyone living in Flint, Michigan, once known as Buick City, if that was good for them.
We started importing textiles from Asia, Central and South America, and the American textile industry collapsed.
Ask the folks in Kannapolis, North Carolina, former home of Cannon Mills, or Fort Payne, Alabama, once the “sock capital of the world,” how that worked out.
We began importing Chinese furniture (made from clear-cut tropical rain forests), and our own hardwood furniture industry collapsed. Ask the good people of Martinsville, Virginia, if that’s benefited them. (Hint: it hasn’t.)
We opened our markets to imports, and the result was always the same in industry after industry.
Yet, the policymakers whose prescriptions decimated American producers of everything from consumer electronics to apparel and fresh produce are at it again.
They now have a plan to cure what’s ailing American health care: Let’s import drugs. What could possibly go wrong?
Florida lawmakers are taking a page from Bernie Sanders’ wish list by considering legislation to lower prescription drug prices by importing drugs from Canada, where the government dictates the price consumers are charged. Twelve other states are considering their own version of Bernie’s proposal.
Put aside the reality that Canada’s price controls only work because drug manufacturers can recoup their costs in other markets, i.e., the U.S.
Also ignore the fact that drug shortages already affect the majority of practitioners in every Canadian province.
That has led Canadian drug distributors to import drugs from Third World countries with sketchy safety standards to supply the needs of the 37 million Canadians.
Add another 327 million Americans to the mix and you can be sure the pills in your medicine cabinet will be coming from Macao or Mumbai, not Montreal.
That’s already happening. The FDA recently cited one online pharmacy, CanaRX, for selling “unapproved, misbranded and unsafe” drugs to Americans.
To make matters worse, the Florida legislation would not only outsource the production of our prescription drugs to dubious foreign labs, it would outsource the safety oversight to the same private entity that would be purchasing and distributing the drugs.
If you have confidence in the wisdom of that arrangement, look at what happened when the FAA let Boeing certify the safety of its new super-duper 737 MAX aircraft.
The fact of the matter is unapproved, imported drugs do not have the same assurance of safety, efficacy and quality as drugs subject to FDA oversight.
Florida lawmakers have already heard about problems with a Sunshine State business that imports drugs from Canada. Tampa-based Canadian Medstore has been accused of generating fake prescriptions with fake names in order to import more drugs.
Increased cross border flow of prescription drugs provides more opportunities for illegal drug smuggling. Canada has been a major route for Chinese fentanyl entering the U.S., much of it in the form of counterfeit prescription drugs.
The American pharmaceutical industry remains a global leader. Our lifesaving therapies and innovations are the envy of the world. It would be malpractice to let this American industry go the way of so many others that have been destroyed by misguided policies that open the gates to a flood of Third World imports.
Bernie Sanders can be forgiven for not thinking through how his proposals would actually work in the real world – he never does. But lawmakers who don’t live on a cloud with the democratic-socialist from Vermont should know better.