EpiPen furor show why we need more government regulation
The current uproar over the price gouging by Mylan Pharmaceuticals on its EpiPen is just the latest example of why we need more, not less, regulation and intervention by the federal government. From ridiculous price hikes on generic drugs to the refusal of companies to continue producing lifesaving drugs because they are not profitable enough, the time has come for the government to take the following steps to confront Big Pharma:
As the American Medical Association and others have recommended, impose a total ban on all prescription drug advertising to consumers, saving tens of millions of dollars annually. The government should convert closed military bases into drug production facilities, staffed exclusively by federal employees. The concept of eminent domain should be aggressively used to acquire patents on drugs that the pharmaceutical industry refuses to manufacture. This would not only ensure the availability of vital drugs to the public but would provide good-paying jobs and also ensure that drugs are safely manufactured in the United States. There would be no multi-million-dollar executives or shareholders to satisfy.
Require that all prescription drugs have country-of-origin labeling. Most of the drugs prescribed in the United States are made overseas, especially in China and India. It is ludicrous that a T-shirt or bag of peanuts have to show country-of-origin, but not medicines.
Finally, the government, using the same rationale that justifies usury laws on interest rates for the protection of the public, should impose price controls on prescription drugs. This would make price gouging illegal and subject corporate officials to criminal sanctions.
Taken together these steps would rein in the out-of-control greed of the pharmaceutical industry – providing our elected representatives have the guts to stand up to Big Pharma’s army of well-paid lawyers and lobbyists.