Another day, another dreary price-fixing law. The DC City Council has discovered you can trade other folks’ R&D spending for your own short term political gain. A writer at the American Prospect cheers this “innovative strategy”:
On Tuesday, September 20, while pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington were busy peddling influence in the halls of Congress, the Council of the District of Columbia was passing a groundbreaking law restricting drug-company pricing. By unanimous vote, the council declared that selling patented drugs at “excessive prices” was illegal. It defined “excessive” as anything more than 30 percent over the price of the same drug in Germany, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. The law allows the D.C. government — or any city resident — to force a drug company to prove to a court that its development and marketing costs and profits justify U.S. prices way above those charged abroad.
As long as these internationalists are looking abroad for price guidance, why stop there? How about a law that would allow any city resident to force a City Council member to prove to a court that his or her salary and benefits justify prices above those paid abroad in Pakistan, India, and Nigeria?