Dear Senator Sanders:
In a recent Facebook video, you deride trade barriers that prevent cheaper Canadian drugs from entering the US market. You conclude that “that is why Americans are paying the highest prices in the world for their medications.”
You are absolutely right in this assessment. Economics 101 teaches us that trade barriers raise the costs of goods sold domestically. By opening trade with Canada (and other nations), the US could go a long way to reducing prescription drug costs here at home.
However, I wonder how you square this with recent pronouncements during your presidential run that free trade and imports (such as trade with China and NAFTA) are harming Americans? If what you said during the campaign is true, then importing Canadian drugs will only harm Americans: it’d cost American jobs and only serve to line the pockets of drug companies who opt to have drugs made in Canada. If, as you argued during your campaign, America is made stronger by limiting imports and that paying higher prices for consumer goods is a good thing, then it must also be true for drugs. Likewise, if paying lower prices for drugs imported from elsewhere is a good thing, then it must also hold true for other goods imported from other places.
I hope you can see where the confusion lies with your contradictory positions. I look forward to an explanation from you.
George Mason University