Cato Daily Dispatch


October 06, 2000

U.S. to Open Drug Markets to Price Controls
On Iraq, Narrow Debate
India Moving Closer to Russia


U.S. to Open Drug Markets to Price Controls

House and Senate conferees yesterday approved a plan that would allow drug distributors to import U.S.-made drugs sold cheaper abroad, according to the Associated Press.

The new measure requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect consumers. These "safeguards" include a requirement that wholesalers submit records on the type of drugs imported and where they are shipped. Lawmakers included $23 million so that the Food and Drug Administration can implement the deal.

In "Manufacturing a Pharmaceutical Crisis," Doug Bandow explains that what reimportation supporters really desire is price controls. Since cheaper drug prices overseas are usually the result of price controls by foreign governments, the new legislation "would effectively subject U.S. firms to foreign restrictions," he writes.

In the Regulation magazine article "Making Sense of Drug Prices," Patricia M. Danzon writes that "any form of price regulation, including the setting of uniform prices within the United States or cross-nationally, would discourage innovation and competition."

On Iraq, Narrow Debate

The future of U.S. policy toward Iraq was one of the subjects discussed during last night's debate between vice presidential contenders Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney. Lieberman promised he and Gore would continue to support Iraqi opposition groups "until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days: get rid of a despot." Cheney said a Bush administration might "have to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power.''

In "Imperial Overreach: Washington's Dubious Strategy to Overthrow Saddam Hussein," David Isenberg shows why overthrowing Saddam will be difficult and even counterproductive. "Saddam and the elite face opposition groups that are weak, have different goals, and do not cooperate with each other," he writes. "The successful overthrow of Saddam could make things worse. Iraq could be thrown into civil war and break up, or a more radical Iraqi regime could arise."

India Moving Closer to Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin concluded his four day visit to India with a trip to the country's leading nuclear research center, where he promised to work with India in developing peaceful uses for atomic energy, according to the New York Times. During the visit, India and Russia signed military procurement deals, announced a common front to combat terrorism from groups based in Afghanistan, and offered each other support in their struggles with internal unrest.

In "India as a World Power: Changing Washington's Myopic Policy," Victor Gobarev warns that Washington's shortsighted policy has led India to pursue a Russia-India-China nexus aimed at preventing U.S. global domination. He writes that "a foreign policy and national security strategy based on Washington's willingness to accept India's world power status, including accepting New Delhi in the nuclear club, is the only realistic way for a breakthrough in U.S.-Indian ties."




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