Pharmaceutical Industry

The delusion of importing foreign drugs

The Trump administration has just announced the formation of a working group at the Food and Drug Administration to study legalizing the importation of foreign-made drugs. Although the study is limited to a narrow set of circumstances in which imports might be allowed, it sets us on a path we shouldn't step on.

The goal is to lower costs and prevent price-gouging by drug makers who find themselves with monopoly power over a particular treatment, say, an out-of-patent medication for a rare disease with only a single generic manufacturer in the market. But proponents of imports are only starting with the narrow case. Their real goal is to allow foreign imports on a massive...