Barely out of the gate in the new legislative session, progressive Democrat Representative Aaron Regunberg of Providence is proving exactly how dangerous he is to the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders:
The bill (2018-H 7042), which Representative Regunberg introduced Jan. 3, would establish a board of pharmacy to examine how prescription drug manufactures set the price for certain prescriptions, and give it the authority to set a maximum allowable price to protect the Rhode Island consumers.
The price-fixing scheme would give nine unelected board members, most of them pharmacists with a financial interest in the industry, deep access to the private information of drug companies and the power to set prices for drugs — particularly those that are among the most innovative and life changing — below the level that companies believe necessary to make it worthwhile to develop more.
There is no reason to expect pharmacists to understand every aspect of drugs’ production and sale generally, let alone the internal operations of a particular company. If companies are forced to justify pricing decisions to Rhode Island’s socialist-nine board members and beg their indulgence, the potential for corruption is immense. If the members are cycled out every three-year term, then they’ll lack a long-term perspective, but if they’re kept on the board for much longer, they’ll become less accountable.
The minimum price for a drug in the state will always be zero… in the sense of being unavailable.
Given the critical nature of its products, our health care market does need controls against price gouging, but we should go the route of reform and competition, not the philosophy that has brought Venezuelans into the gutter. Reform patent laws, giving generic drug manufacturers more opportunity. Take the thumb off of insurance companies so they’ll have more leverage against drug companies. Take the restrictions off of health care providers and consumers so they’ll have leverage to shop around for drugs, insurers, and types of treatments.
Above all, Regunberg’s bill illustrates how close we are to the end game of government control, and that’s an extremely unhealthy place to be.