Way back in 2009, Venezuela Presidenté Hugo Chavez fixed health care. Forever.
Vowing to free health care from the horrors of the free market economy, Chavez destroyed intellectual property rights on medicines and other products in Venezuela, at the time just his latest assault against the private sector.
“A song is intellectual property, but an invention or a scientific discovery should be knowledge for the world,” Chavez was quoted at the time in the Business Recorder. “Especially medicine.”
And since then, everything has been perfect in Venezuela. The economy didn’t collapse. There is perfect, free medicine for everyone. People aren’t fleeing in droves. And no one has to eat zoo animals to keep from dying of hunger anymore, and Chavez’s government definitely wouldn’t cover it up even if people were.
Now, flash forward to 2023. Joe Biden wants to bring this nightmare here.
That’s where we find ourselves in America now, with the Biden administration having “determined that it has the authority to seize the patents of certain high-priced medicines,” according to Politico. Democrats are threatening this as the first move of an aggressive campaign to reduce drug prices.
Progressives have long insisted that the federal government should exert so-called “march-in rights” to seize drug patents and license them to other manufacturers in the goal of lowering prices.
This is the latest instance of the Biden administration seizing power away from Americans, all while insisting they’re protecting “our democracy.”
The departments of commerce and health had been expected to issue determinations on the government's “march-in” authority this month, according to various news reports, but have accelerated the announcement in the wake of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s recent comments that he would “repeal and replace” President Obama’s so-called Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare has led to record profits for health insurance companies while driving doctors out of practice, so it’s understandable Democrats want to change the narrative.
Price controls typically cause big problems (sometimes they only create small problems). If the government destroys financial incentives for prescription medicine, it cripples research and development (R&D) for the drugs of the future. Because medicine takes so long to get to market, research companies need the confidence of American rule of law to expect a reasonable return on investment (ROI.)
Otherwise, there is no incentive for them to take the risk and they’ll dedicate their efforts instead on something more reliably profitable — like different vape flavors.
Sure, lowering drug prices by force could help some people now, but hurt people in the future. The better solution is to reduce onerous regulation and punitive litigation so more drugs can get to market cheaper.
Deeply unpopular, Biden has to do something to justify his re-election campaign. The economy is a disaster. Our enemies abroad are carving up the world. The US-Mexico border makes Sicario look like a G-rated cartoon.
Lapdog media insist that Biden’s “winning back Democrats!” over Israel — even while his base is calling for Israeli genocide on Capitol Hill and Muslims are vowing to vote against him.
If the Democrats can make short-term gains on prescription drug prices, it could trick enough people into voting for them again in 2024. The long-term implications will be disastrous, but if we wanted leaders with long-term vision, we probably wouldn’t stick to a two-year election cycle.
When Hugo Chavez destroyed his country’s health care industry, his trade minister at the time said, “Patents have become a barrier to production, and we cannot allow them to be barriers to medicine, to life, to agriculture. We are revising all the doctrines and laws related to patents, which should be compatible with the international treaties that we have signed and respect and honour.”
Given how disastrously things turned out for Venezuela, are Democrats really stupid enough to try that here? Will we be able to stop them?
Jared Whitley is a longtime politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.
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