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Having been employed by the pharmaceutical industry for some years, I can attest that many countries outside the United States, particularly the poorest ones, are able to purchase U.S. drugs far less expensively than they are sold to American consumers. The reason drugs are sold more cheaply elsewhere is because after the enormous expense of developing and then achieving FDA approval, the down-the-line manufacturing cost of the finished product is the bargain part of the process, such that selling some quantity of finished product for a lower price still adds to the bottom line.

Some Americans have the incorrect idea that if parity in pricing for all were mandated, they would also reap the benefits of the low prices paid by those other nations. Unfortunately, the result would not be lower prices, but would instead have the net effect of curtailing new drug development in the U.S.

Your readers may be interested to know that during the years of the Soviet Union, not one new drug was brought to market in that country. Not one. Instead, after adopting a “single-payer system” and “health care for all,” a definite two-tier system evolved, one for the “important” people, and an inferior one for the masses. Be careful what you wish for.

P. Richner

Millersburg (June 3)

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