A Prescription Drug Solution

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," December 22, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Well, my next guest is against drug importation (search). He says that there is a better way to make prescription drugs cheaper for millions of Americans.

Joining us now is former Congressman Dick Armey, who's now chairman of FreedomWorks.

And Congressman, welcome.

DICK ARMEY, CHAIRMAN, FREEDOMWORKS: Well, it's my pleasure to be with you.

KEENAN: You know, you think there's a better way. Americans are hell-bent on getting cheap drugs from overseas. What's a better solution?

ARMEY: Well, clearly, the better solution is to — to use American- made generic drugs bought through American markets. The fact of the matter is you can save a good deal more money than you can over the Canadian reimported drugs, and you don't have the political hassle.

So, if you go to, say, for example, you go online to find a Canadian supplier, most patients will be better served if they look up an American supplier of generic drugs like, for example, R.X. Outreach (search), one I happen to be familiar with.

You will get your medicines more quickly, more efficiently, less expensively, and you won't have yourself embroiled in a great big political debate.

The fact is, the reimportation issue is far better politics than it is good medicine. Good medicine gets you the most effective prescription as quickly as possible at the least cost. And the fact is that American generics will cost at least 30 percent less than a Canadian reimported medicine.

I don't know why the consumer would want to go that way. I understand the politicians making their hay out of it. But for the patient looking for the best medicine as quickly as possible at the best price, the domestic generic like R.X. Outreach is the far better choice.

KEENAN: Well, one reason they want to go that way is if they need drugs such as Lipitor (search) that are off patent and aren't available in generic form, they have to pay full price for them.

ARMEY: Well, yes. But that goes back to the basic reason, anyway. You have to understand the reason we give a patent is so that we can preserve the incentive for firms to do the research and to go through the very costly process to get the — the prescriptions licensed in the first place.

That's a very important part of the ongoing future of better medicines in the future. And if we circumvent that, we take away the earnings and the incentive for the research. The patient and her children are going to be worse off in the long run.

So it's better to be patient with the patent process. Don't circumvent that. And take those prescription medicines you can generically as quickly as you can. It's better to do that than to get yourself embroiled into a political fight over reimportation, which quite frankly, won't happen.

KEENAN: All right. I think the fight, though, will continue but thanks for joining us with your side of the story.

ARMEY: Thanks for having me back.

KEENAN: Former Congressman Dick Armey.

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