|Key Words||Companies, prices, manufacturers, consumers, research and development, costs, benefits, uninsured|
Republican Senator Slade Gorton of Washington is drafting legislation that would prevent drug companies selling drugs at a different price in the U.S. compared to Canada or Mexico. The reason is that the manufacturers are charging Canadian consumers 64 percent less on average for the ten most commonly prescribed drugs than consumers in Washington state. Americans are forced to pay most of the research and development costs of drugs sold round the world. Senator Gorton believes that his proposal will put pressure on other countries to permit higher drug prices and ensure that Americans pay lower prices. The uninsured and the elderly who have no drug benefits would benefit.
The drug companies are alarmed. They claim that the proposal is tantamount to price controls. Glaxo Wellcome's lobbyist says that it would be "disastrous for American consumers, our industry, and research everywhere."
(Updated June 1, 2000)
Robert Pear, "Drug Price Issue Catching Fire in Senate," The New York Times, April 6, 2000.
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