Because foreign countries can import new U.S. drugs and price them however they see fit, many have largely checked out of the innovation business themselves. The U.S. produced 57% of the world’s new medicines between 2001 and 2010, up from less than a third in the 1970s, the Milken Institute reported in 2011.
The bottom line is that foreign countries freeload off American medical innovation, enjoying the fruits of U.S. ingenuity while forcing American consumers to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of funding research – effectively causing the American consumer to subsidize the pharmaceutical needs of foreign consumers.
President Trump says American companies have been getting “systematically ripped off” by foreign governments and firms. He’s right. Yet he has backed a proposal that would make the problem even worse—permitting Americans to buy prescription drugs from overseas retailers, a practice known as importation. This policy wouldn’t help American consumers much, but it would gut American pharmaceutical companies.