National Council on Disability releases Statement Opposing Importation of IPI

Importation of the IPI in the U.S. will restrict access to prescription medications for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare Part B due to the IPI’s reliance on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) – a formula used to assess the value of medications by assigning a lower value to the life of a person with an illness or disability

WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability released the following statement:

Making prescription medicines more affordable is a proper and necessary goal for the U.S., but it is not in the best interest of Americans to import price controls from countries that use the International Pricing Index (IPI) to determine U.S. drug pricing.

Importation of the IPI in the U.S. will restrict access to prescription medications for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare Part B due to the IPI’s reliance on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) – a formula used to assess the value of medications by assigning a lower value to the life of a person with an illness or disability.

To date, QALYs have been deemed contrary to U.S. public policy because of the discriminatory design and impact on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. NCD’s 2019 report on QALYs describes their consequences on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities in countries with government-run health systems that use the IPI. Where Americans enjoy broad access to the most effective and cutting-edge medications available, people in IPI countries have dramatically less access to important drugs, including denied or restricted access to the most effective drugs for cancer and other serious medical conditions.

Medicare and Medicaid have not relied on value assessments that use QALYs for prescription drugs but importing the IPI will most certainly reduce access to quality healthcare for Americans by limiting or restricting access to medications. It will also import the use of QALYs, which run counter to U.S. civil rights laws that prohibit healthcare discrimination against people with disabilities.

For the benefit of all Americans who rely on nondiscriminatory access to the most effective prescription drugs to treat their individual conditions, NCD urges the Trump administration to abandon its plan to use IPI and to examine alternatives that do not rely on QALYs or other discriminatory metrics.

FreedomWorks was joined by 17 organizations in sending a letter to President Trump opposing any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

BY SARAH ANDERSON

Dear President Trump,

We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of taxpayers and consumers nationwide, oppose any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

There is no denying that the cost of healthcare in the United States is quite high and continues to rise at a rate that is unsustainable for many Americans. Addressing this crisis requires a sober analysis of all of the factors at play and a willingness to come together across the aisle to offer a lasting solution for the millions of families and caregivers in our great nation.

Unfortunately, the “international pricing index” (IPI) and its most recent variant that includes a “most favored nation” (MFN) provision are not the type of solutions our nation needs. In fact, they represent quite the opposite of what is needed.

Any form of price setting is a treatment of symptoms, not causes. Prices stem from the actions and demands of both individuals and groups. As has been shown repeatedly in countries with socialized health care systems, governments cannot expect to set the price of any good – let alone one as crucial as prescription drugs – below its market value without incurring painful consequences.

This is not hypothetical. The healthcare systems in the reference nations upon which the IPI would base its pricing have scores of inefficiencies. These nations routinely suffer from increased wait times, drug shortages, and rationing of care. We need our leaders to do whatever is in their power to prevent these outcomes from making their way to our shores, not to emulate the systems that have engendered them. We cannot implement the same models as other nations and believe we will remain immune to their deficiencies.

A study using data from the National Institutes of Health found that if all developed countries lifted all price controls on prescription drugs, the resulting increase in investment in pharmaceutical research and development would yield eight to thirteen new drugs per year through 2030.

This is pure logic. As we stated earlier, there are distinct economic consequences to holding a commodity below market value. One of those is to increase demand; another is to decrease supply. The resources and time required to develop a new drug and bring it to market are tremendous, and drugmakers must be able to eventually recoup those investments in order to stay in business to develop more cures. Sadly, price controls would leave many waiting in vain for cures that will never come.

With the MFN provision, the U.S. would, by definition, move itself to the back of the line and would be required to have the most stringent price controls globally. Pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to spend exorbitant sums to develop new drugs in a nation that has made itself the worst place on earth to try and recoup their investments.

Beyond the economic and human costs of such a proposal, there are a variety of legal issues with the IPI. First, it relies on an overly broad interpretation of what constitutes a “limited experiment” under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (CMMI) statutory authority. Implementing this proposal across broad swaths of Medicare is hardly limited, and the ripple effects it would have will impact the entire healthcare industry in our nation.

The administration is trying to argue before the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and using programs established by the law to implement a sweeping change to healthcare as we know it. This proposal, if implemented, would undermine that worthy fight.

If we’ve learned anything over this tumultuous year, it’s that it is an absolute necessity for our healthcare system to be able to operate with maximum flexibility. Price setting through IPI, and price setting accelerated to its most extreme with MFN would stifle medical innovation at a time where we can least afford it as a nation.

As we look to setting America on a sustainable path towards more affordable healthcare for all our citizens, especially its most vulnerable, all of these considerations must be reviewed thoroughly. It is imperative that this be done right and not hastily, which is why we oppose any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

Tom Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste

Daniel Schneider, Executive Director, American Conservative Union

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom

Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

Mario H. Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Ryan Ellis, President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty

James Edwards, Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights

Seton Motley, President, Less Government

Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitmen

RESISTING PROTECTIONISM IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL SUPPLY CHAIN

By Clark Packard and Bill Watson

INTRODUCTION

For about 80 years, the United States has aggressively pursued a policy of expanding overseas markets and lowering domestic tariffs and other non-tariff barriers. This process was achieved through a series of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs), as well as multilateral agreements through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its precursor system, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Liberalizing international trade in this manner increased the U.S. Gross Domestic Product per capita by about $7,000 and by more than $18,000 (in 2016 dollars) per household.1 Not only that, the poor benefitted disproportionately because they tend to “concentrate spending in more traded sectors.”2 Through these agreements, American firms also were able to establish the certainty they needed to invest abroad, foreign firms invested here and a system of complicated supply chains quickly developed that lowered prices for consumers and enhanced the competitiveness of American firms in globalized markets.

Despite these successes, protectionist opponents on the left and right have long criticized the prevailing consensus for its effect on the domestic manufacturing base.3 “Offshoring,” critics contend, has favored multinational corporations at the expense of the working class.4 Critics also argue that, as a services-heavy economy, the United States is too dependent on imported products from hostile countries and that the U.S. “doesn’t make anything anymore.”5

But, these charges are largely untrue. Today, the United States is the second-largest exporter in the world.6 And, although manufacturing employment (as a percentage of the overall workforce) in the United States has declined, its peak occurred shortly after World War II and began declining in the late 1970s—“long before the North American Free Trade Agreement existed or Chinese imports were more than a rounding error in U.S. GDP.”7 In fact, before the outbreak of COVID-19, manufacturing output was near record highs.8 Instead, it is productivity gains and technological improvements that are the primary drivers of America’s shift away from labor-intensive manufacturing, not import competition or offshoring.9

Despite this reality, American politicians are increasingly interested in reshoring supply chains of various products, especially those deemed “strategic” or required for U.S. national security.10 Hawkish politicians are concerned about U.S. reliance on imports from China and have pushed the United States to embrace a new era of industrial policy.11 Such arguments have intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19, particularly with respect to pharmaceuticals and other products necessary to combat the pandemic. The justification is that non-allies may withhold exports of these critical products, particularly when we need them most. And, accordingly, the administration and Congress are currently considering ways to re-shore some or all of the pharmaceutical supply chain, including a blunt protectionist requirement for the federal government to purchase only pharmaceutical products that are made in the United States.12

Such “Buy American” proposals recently drew a stern rebuke from over 250 leading economists, including Nobel laureates and officials from previous presidential administrations, who warned in a letter organized by the National Taxpayers Union that: “The variety, supply and price of goods available to Americans will suffer under a Buy American regime. Taxpayers and patients will pay more for drugs and medical supplies.”13 And, in fact, any such risk is unnecessary, as there are ways to responsibly increase domestic manufacturing of various pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) without resorting to misguided protectionism.

What’s more, to exploit this crisis as a way to radically overhaul pharmaceutical supply chains could be disastrous, especially if done in a haphazard way. For this reason, the present study first explains the costs of re-shoring pharmaceutical supply chains and the benefits of diversity. It then dispels the dubious national security arguments made by politicians, and makes concrete recommendations for the consideration of policymakers who wish to ensure a secure U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain, including steps to responsibly increase domestic production.

DISPELLING MYTHS

In a May 11 op-ed in The New York Times, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer criticized the “blind pursuit of efficiency” that resulted in “extended, overseas supply lines.”14 He went on to accuse American businesses of following an offshoring “craze,” as they were “swept up by the herd mentality” and a “lemming-like desire for ‘efficiency’” but without adequately considering the risks that come when “long supply lines flow at the whim of local politics, labor unrest and corruption.” He then claimed that the pandemic “has revealed our over reliance on other countries as sources of critical medicines” and called on policymakers to “remedy this strategic vulnerability […] by shifting production back to the United States.”15

This general antipathy toward globalization has been further energized by concerns that the Chinese government has too much power over the American medical supply. Last December, for example, four U.S. senators warned that “overreliance on Chinese API exports raises the possibility that China could terminate or raise the cost of prescription drugs.”16 They further warned that the Chinese government could choose to “weaponize pharmaceuticals, by restricting exports to the United States” or “incorporating lethal ingredients in final products,” and concluded ominously that this “national security threat cannot be overstated.”17 In fact, such a threat is constantly and dramatically overstated, primarily because of the faulty assumption upon which it is based: namely, that our supply chain is over-reliant on China. Like all products created through complex global supply chains, understanding the country of origin for all components of a finished product can be challenging, and pharmaceuticals are certainly no exception. However, the promotion of false statistics is hardly helpful. For example, in the midst of the current pandemic, irresponsible policymakers and even mainstream media outlets persist in promoting the figure that “80 percent of our drugs come from China.”18 And, while that may sound scary (and is likely designed specifically for that purpose), it is simply false.19

To accurately analyze the source of drug imports is complicated in two important ways. One is the distinction between finished drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which are the chemicals (like acetaminophen and dextromethorphan) used to make the drugs (like NyQuil) people actually consume. The second is the fact that both finished drugs and APIs are scattered across multiple product codes in national trade databases, and some of those codes include non-pharmaceutical products. It is therefore difficult to accurately estimate the true value and origin of API imports and impossible to know the origin of all APIs that are imported as existing components of finished drugs.

For at least the last 20 years, the FDA has “estimated” that imports from all foreign countries make up “approximately” 40 percent of finished drugs and 80 percent of APIs used by U.S. manufacturers of finished drugs.20 But, in addition to the fact that it is unclear how the agency arrived at this estimate, the number also does not tell us where the APIs in the imported drugs are coming from. And, what’s more, any reasonable attempt to approximate these values does not indicate that anything close to 80 percent of finished drugs—or even 80 percent of the APIs consumed by Americans—are made in China. For example, we know that Chinese manufacturers supply only a small share of the APIs used to make finished drugs in the United States, because the source of those imports is recorded in U.S. trade data. According to analysis by the American Action Forum, a mere “18 percent of total active pharmaceutical ingredient imports, 9 percent of total antibiotic imports, and less than 1 percent of total vaccine imports” come from China.21 In reality, the largest source of imported APIs is Ireland—at about 30 percent.22 And certainly no one would credibly claim that Ireland poses any national security threat to the United States.

Moreover, in recent testimony to Congress, even the director of the FDA’s drug division stated that the agency “cannot determine with any precision the volume of API that China is actually producing, or the volume of APIs manufactured in China that is entering the U.S. market.”23 They do, however, have data on the location of facilities registered with the agency to produce APIs for specific approved drugs. For example, the FDA reports that there are 1,788 facilities in the world that manufacture APIs for drugs consumed in the United States.24 Only 13 percent of these facilities are in China.25 India and the European Union actually produce more of these APIs—at 18 and 26 percent, respectively. Twentyeight percent of the facilities are located here in the United States.26 Of course, even looking at the number of facilities does not tell us the actual volume of APIs from each country, as some facilities may be producing vastly greater quantities than others. But the data we do have does not indicate an excessive reliance on China. On the contrary, it shows that the U.S. pharmaceutical market is served by a diverse array of suppliers from all over the world, including here at home. It also shows that these market-driven supply chains are not, as Ambassador Lighthizer argues, the result of an irrational craze to cut costs at the expense of jobs. In truth, globalization has enabled the U.S. pharmaceutical industry to become a dynamic driver of economic growth in the United States

In a global economy, it is true that the United States is not the best place to invest in large-scale, labor-intensive chemical manufacturing. But America has excelled at inventing new drugs that improve lives and at developing innovative manufacturing techniques that make drug treatments safer, more effective and more affordable. Indeed, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s most recent report on the state of the pharmaceutical market certainly does not describe an industry hollowed out by short-sightedness: “Large, diversified and global, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is one of the most critical and competitive sectors in the economy.”27 The U.S. market for pharmaceuticals is enormous and the United States is indeed the world’s number one importer of finished drugs. But because most drugs made in the world are not consumed in America, the United States is also a major exporter.

While the industry was developing “extended, overseas supply lines,” the value of U.S. pharmaceutical exports tripled to over $50 billion per year.28 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that approximately 300,000 Americans work in the pharmaceutical industry with a median wage 56 percent higher than the national average.29 This is only made possible by access to the very global network of suppliers that reshoring advocates want to eliminate.

And global supply chains have also not made the market more vulnerable to disruption—intentional or otherwise. Supply chain risk is a well-studied phenomenon, and experts have not found that reliance on domestic production and short supply lines is the best way to avoid risk.30 The robustness of a supply chain (that is, its ability to continue operating when faced with an unforeseen disruption like a natural disaster) can be negatively affected by complexity because it takes more resources and oversight to maintain operations.31 But robustness can also be harmed by geographic concentration because a greater portion of the system is susceptible to a single incident.32 It makes sense, therefore, for companies to seek a diverse network of suppliers and potential suppliers with constant knowledge of their relative capacities. Forcing pharmaceutical companies to rely only on U.S. suppliers would likely expose their operations to greater risk of disruption by prohibiting them from adequately spreading risk.

Rather than reveal dangerous vulnerabilities, the coronavirus pandemic has actually demonstrated that supply lines for the U.S. pharmaceutical market are quite robust compared to other industries. We have seen notable problems in markets for face masks, household goods and food, but the U.S. medicine supply has been almost entirely unaffected. In fact, in its most recent update on the status of drug supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak, the FDA stated that only one drug had been added to the drug shortage list due to a pandemic related factory shutdown in China and that “there are other alternatives that can be used by patients.”33 The agency also identified only 20 drugs (all non-critical) with APIs sourced only from China, and none of those had reported any short-ages.34 Put simply, the evidence to date strongly suggests that the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain is adequately diverse and robust in the face of unforeseen disruption. Efforts to re-shore all manufacturing of APIs is therefore likely to do more harm than good.

COSTS OF PHARMACEUTICAL AUTARKY

Because of the complex and efficient pharmaceutical supply chains that have developed over the years, prices of prescription drugs are lower than they would be if they were entirely manufactured in the United States. With a growing bipartisan chorus of policymakers in the Trump administration and Congress looking at ways to reduce drug prices, reshoring the entire pharmaceutical supply chain would not only undermine that worthwhile goal, but would raise drug prices.35

In fact, there are a number of reasons why the United States imports finished pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients, which include tax laws, simple comparative advantage and access to raw materials.36 Indeed, a 2011 study from the Food and Drug Administration noted:

Both India and China offer a number of cost advantages, most notably the cost of skilled labor. India in particular trains six times the number of chemists annually than the U.S. produces and companies can access this talent for 10% of the cost of the same talent in America.37

The study also finds that manufacturing in India, for example, can “reduce costs for U.S. and European companies by 30 to 40%.”38 These cheaper production costs mean cheaper drug prices for American consumers. If the United States were to entirely re-shore the pharmaceutical supply chain, it would dramatically increase prescription drug costs for American purchasers, including individuals, federal and state governments, hospitals and insurance companies.

Ironically, forced re-shoring could also bring about the exact result its proponents fear from Chinese interference. That is, by prohibiting American patients, pharmacists and doctors from acquiring safe and effective medicines available on the global market merely because they have a Chinese or other foreign ingredient, the U.S. government may cause the very shortages and price hikes it fears could result from malevolent foreign action. Consider, for example, the recent recall of metformin. Americans managing Type 2 diabetes spend over $3 billion per year filling prescriptions for metformin.39 After the FDA discovered potentially unsafe levels of nitrosamine in some batches of the drug, numerous drug makers pulled their metformin pills off the market.40 But the recall is not expected to affect patients at all because, according to the FDA, “there are additional manufacturers of the metformin ER formulation that supply a significant portion of the U.S. market, and their products are not being recalled.”41 Without access to global supplies, a single instance like this of drug contamination at a manufacturing plant would severely cut the nation’s supply and force patients to go without treatment. Instead, the FDA merely advises anyone currently taking one of the recalled products to “consult with their health care professional who can prescribe a replacement.”42

OVERVIEW OF CURRENT PROPOSALS

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, policymakers had already begun proposing government interventions in the pharmaceutical chain in order to minimize or eliminate the role of Chinese manufacturing. For example, in October 2019, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing following a report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, which warned that the Chinese could “use U.S. dependence on China as an economic weapon and cut supplies of critical drugs.”43 That report made a number of recommendations, including additional monitoring and reporting by the FDA, mandatory country-of-origin labels for API and a requirement that all federally funded health systems (including Medicare and Medicaid) “purchase their pharmaceuticals only from U.S. production facilities” subject to some broad exceptions.44 It’s also worth noting that some of the recommendations are directed at all imported drugs and APIs instead of just ones from China, which certainly suggests that protectionism rather than national security is the true motivation behind such measures.

Moreover, a number of bills have been proposed recently in Congress that would enact reforms similar to one or more of the report’s recommendations. The most appropriate, common-sense proposals offered so far in Congress are ones meant to improve our knowledge of the existing supply arrangement through enhanced monitoring and reporting.45 Such knowledge may assuage rising anxiety about Chinese dominance but, even if it does not, a better understanding of the situation is crucial for government planners trying to redesign any major American industry.

In addition to this, a provision of the already enacted CARES Act calls for a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to examine the current state of pharmaceutical and medical device supply chains and to recommend ways to improve resiliency.46 Other bills have called on the FDA to track API production with greater detail so we can know the volume of APIs originating in every country for each approved drug.47 Some proposals seek to promote domestic manufacturing of APIs through targeted tax breaks, grants or regulatory reform. One example of this approach is Senator Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) “Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act,” which would reform the FDA’s Emerging Technology Program in order to fast-track the approval of new manufacturing methods that could help prevent supply chain disruptions.48

A number of more drastic proposals have been offered that would actively restrict access to drugs with foreign-sourced APIs. One ambitious example is the “Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act” proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). In addition to having the FDA better track the origin of APIs, requiring country-of-origin information on labels and giving tax breaks to companies expanding domestic manufacturing, the bill would also prohibit U.S. government entities from buying any drugs made from APIs produced in China.49 Such a policy would undoubtedly incentivize pharmaceutical companies to source APIs from elsewhere, but it would also deny patients at VA and other federal hospitals access to drugs. The result would be healthcare decisions driven by industrial policy rather than medical needs. It would also expand the gap between private and public health systems, with the latter burdened by politically motivated inefficiencies that raise costs and reduce the quality of care.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has offered a similarly broad bill with four Democratic co-sponsors that also employs a Buy-American strategy but is less targeted at China specifically. Their “Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act” would deny any Buy American preferences to U.S.-manufactured drugs made with foreign-sourced APIs.50 Rather than embracing aggressive protectionism through Buy American requirements for federal pharmaceutical purchases, there are better ways to ensure the security of the supply chain and provide proper incentives to re-shore some portions of it to maintain affordable pharmaceuticals and a globally competitive industry. The following sections outline some of the most effective strategies.

Get better data and a clearer picture

As a preliminary matter, better data is needed before policymakers can truly make informed decisions about the future of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Data exists to determine the exact portion of imported APIs used by U.S. drug manufacturers and the countries from which they come. But, there is no data to determine the portion of APIs and their countries of origin used by foreign drug manufacturers exporting to the United States. In order to rectify this, Congress could mandate the disclosure of APIs to the FDA for any drug exported to the United States by foreign drug manufacturers. If such a method is adopted, precautions should be taken to ensure that trade secrets are protected.

Likewise, as mentioned, the CARES Act, passed by Congress in March 2020, requires the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine to perform a study on the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain.51 Rather than exploiting a crisis to make swift and dramatic changes without a clear picture, policymakers should wait for and then use this study to carefully craft an appropriate response.

Lead the charge for liberalization

Since World War II, the United States has been the global leader in the creation and cultivation of the rules-based trading system. The bulwark of this system is the WTO. Every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama was largely supportive of the WTO and its predecessor, the GATT. Today, that is not the case. The Trump administration has a wellknown antipathy for the Geneva-based forum.52

To be sure, the WTO’s negotiating function has been stuck in neutral for the last several years.53 This is partially understandable, as new rules are necessary to cover various disciplines, such as trade in digital products, that have risen in popularity with the emergence of internet-based commerce but were not accounted for originally. With the outbreak of COVID-19, there is an opportunity for the WTO to reestablish itself as the primary forum for crafting new rules to facilitate predictable rules-based trade in pharmaceutical and other medical products. As the world’s largest economy, the United States should play a leading role in facilitating such trade negotiations.

Additionally, Phil Hogan, the European Union’s Trade Commissioner, recently proposed a global trade negotiation that seeks to “permanently eliminate tariffs on medical goods needed to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis.”54 While lowering tariffs on pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies would be good, it does not go far enough. The larger concern during emergencies is that countries will restrict exports in an attempt to ensure sufficient quantities of certain products are available for domestic consumption. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, about 70 countries have imposed export restrictions on certain medical supplies.55 Unfortunately, WTO rules largely work to restrict only import protectionism, not export protectionism, both of which tend to proliferate during crises and economic downturns.

For these reasons, the United States should be leading the 163 other countries in the WTO to create new rules that prohibit restricting exports of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies during outbreaks.56 Such a move is not unprecedented; in April 2020, the agriculture ministers of the G-20 countries, including the United States, issued a pledge to prohibit food and agricultural export restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.57 Likewise, during the financial crisis of 2008, the United States and the other G-20 members issued a pledge that for the next year, they would “refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.”58

If multilateral WTO negotiations to prohibit export restrictions of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals during emergencies are too difficult, too time consuming or face intractable opposition from, say, China, the United States could pursue plurilateral negotiations with some, but not all, WTO members. The United States would likely find willing partners with close allies like Australia, the European Union, Mexico, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Israel and India. Such a group of close U.S. allies could agree not to impose export restrictions and other protectionist measures on medical supplies and pharmaceuticals during emergencies such as pandemics and natural disasters.

Outside the WTO context, the United States should include similar prohibitions on export restrictions during emergencies in future free-trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and consider narrowly revising existing FTAs to include such language.

Another possibility would be for the United States to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a promising trade pact between Pacific Rim nations that President Trump abandoned.59 A primary goal of the TPP was to establish better and more reliable trading relationships with a number of Asian countries in China’s orbit. Rejoining the TPP would therefore strengthen Asian supply chains and provide an alternative to reliance on China. As part of rejoining the TPP, the United States could insist on a provision that would prohibit export restrictions on pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies. It could also look to expand the trade bloc by negotiating accession with countries like India and Taiwan. All of these options are consistent with existing WTO obligations and are preferable to crude attempts to re-shore the entire pharmaceutical supply chain.

Offer full expensing for manufacturing facilities

However, if the goal is to re-shore some of the pharmaceutical supply chain, there are positive steps policymakers can take. As part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in late 2017, Congress provided temporary full expensing of short-lived investments through 2022, which will phase out entirely by 2026.60 This means that when a firm makes a short-term investment, it can write off the full value of the investment from its tax liability in the year of the investment, rather than phasing it out as the asset depreciates. In order to qualify for full immediate expensing, the asset must have a cost-recovery period of 20 years or less.61

In order to make the United States a more attractive and competitive country in which to produce pharmaceuticals and APIs, policymakers should consider making full expensing permanent and applying it to long-term investments like non-residential structures or manufacturing facilities. This would provide an incentive for pharmaceutical manufacturers to open production facilities in the United States or to move facilities from overseas. Recent legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that would provide this type of tax treatment to medical supply companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers for their non-residential real-property investments.62 Such a tax change is vastly superior to protectionist Buy American schemes.

Improve tax treatment of research and development costs

Currently, when an American firm makes investments into research and development (R&D), it can deduct those costs from its tax liability during the year in which they occur. This is the right policy. But under the TCJA, Congress mandated that beginning in 2022, firms making R&D investments must amortize those expenses over a five-year period. As the National Taxpayers Union Foundation has noted:

The policy will raise the cost of investments in research and development, meaning companies will be less likely to do R&D. That means less innovation and new technologies for the U.S. economy, leading to lower levels of productivity, lower wages, and a smaller economy.63

In order to incentivize more domestic production of pharmaceuticals and APIs, Congress should correct the TCJA’s treatment of R&D expenses. Full, immediate expensing is vastly preferable to an amortized approach, given the time-value of money.

Deregulate

The regulatory review process for building a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility can be cumbersome, time consuming and costly. If policymakers decide it is important to re-shore some portion of the pharmaceutical supply chain, the FDA should expedite and streamline the approvals of such facilities in order to eliminate costly delays and duplication.

Stockpile essential medicines

In addition to the measures already suggested, the federal government should identify and stockpile essential medicines in a deliberate and careful manner. A recent study by the Mercatus Center argues that policymakers should be utilizing the Defense Production Act to establish purchase guarantees for certain medical equipment necessary to combat COVID-19—along with targeted deregulation—in order to bolster production.64 A similar approach could be used to secure sufficient quantities of essential drugs.

By providing purchase commitments for the essential pharmaceuticals at above-market prices for a sustained period of time, the federal government can provide the proper marketbased incentives to significantly increase the supply of such drugs. Admittedly, the shelf-life of pharmaceuticals is probably shorter than protective masks, but the drugs could be purchased on a more regular basis than other medical equipment. Alternatively, companies could hold the extra stock and cycle in and out of their supplies. In other words, the government would be paying companies to have a rolling surplus of those pharmaceuticals that are deemed essential.

CONCLUSION

The simple reality is that the United States cannot—and should not—produce all pharmaceuticals domestically. Importing finished pharmaceuticals and APIs helps keep costs down. Existing pharmaceutical supply chains are diverse and produce benefits that accrue to American consumers. Exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to haphazardly undo these supply chains would be a grave mistake that could result in higher prices or shortages of various drugs.

At the same time, if policymakers are concerned that the United States is too dependent on China for pharmaceuticals and APIs, there are steps they can take to lessen that dependence without resorting to costly pharmaceutical autarky or aggressive protectionism. The United States could go a long way toward ensuring a secure supply of pharmaceuticals by exerting global leadership through trade negotiations with like-minded allies. Likewise, policymakers can bolster

FOOTNOTES

1. Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Zhiyao (Lucy) Lu, “The Payoff to America from Globalization: A Fresh Look with a Focus on Cost to Workers,” The Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2017. https://piie.com/system/files/documents/pb17-16.pdf.

2. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum and Amit K. Khandelwal, “Measuring the Unequal Gains from Trade,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 131:3 (August 2016), pp. 1113-80. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/131/3/1113/2461162?redirectedFrom=fulltext.

3. See, e.g., Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig, and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s record on outsourcing draws criticism from the left,” The Washington Post, July 9, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/obamas-record-on-outsourcing- draws-criticism-from-the-left/2012/07/09/gJQAljJCZW_story.html; Patrick J. Buchanan, “Is Free Trade Falling Out of Fashion,” Buchanan.org, Feb. 18, 2004. https://buchanan.org/blog/pjb-is-free-trade-falling-out-of-fashion-578.

4. Robert E. Lighthizer, “The Era of Offshoring U.S. Jobs is Over,” The New York Times, May 11, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/opinion/coronavirus-jobs-offshoring.html.

5. Chris Wallace, “Interview with Donald Trump,” Fox News Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXqEcU0W5JI.

6. Jeff Desjardins, “These are the world’s biggest exporters,” World Economic Forum,June 25, 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/these-are-the-worldsbiggest-exporters.

7. Scott Lincicome, “The Truth about Trade,” National Review, April 4, 2016. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/04/trade-jobs-free-trade-hurting-american-economy.

8. Laura Beth Harris, “Manufacturing Output Hits All-Time High, Signaling Industry’s Strength,” National Association of Manufacturers, July 29, 2019. https://www. nam.org/manufacturing-output-hits-all-time-high-signaling-industrys-strength-5546/?stream=workforce.

9. Michael J. Hicks and Srikant Devaraj, “The Myth and the Reality of Manufacturing in America,” Ball State University, April 2017. https://conexus.cberdata.org/files/Mfg-Reality.pdf.

10. Olivia Beavers, “Momentum grows to change medical supply chain from China,” The Hill, April 5, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/491119-momentum-grows-to-change-medical-supply-chain-from-china.

11. Marco Rubio, “We Need a More Resilient American Economy,” The New York Times, April 20, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/opinion/marco-rubio-coronavirus-economy.html.

12. Ana Swanson, “Coronavirus Spurs U.S. Efforts to End China’s Chokehold on Drugs,” The New York Times, March 11, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/business/economy/coronavirus-china-trump-drugs.html.

13. Economists’ Letter to President Trump, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell, May 2020. https://www.ntu.org/library/doclib/2020/05/economist-letter-2-.pdf.

14. Robert Lighthizer, “The Era of Offshoring U.S. Jobs is Over,” The New York Times, May 11, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/opinion/coronavirus-jobs-offshoring. html.

15. Ibid.

16. Sen. Elizabeth Warren et al., Letter to Mark T. Esper, Dec. 5, 2019. https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2019.12.05%20Letter%20to%20DoD%20re%20pharmaceutical%20product%20supply%20chain.pdf.

17. Ibid.

18. Eric Boehm, “Why You Shouldn’t Trust Anyone Who Claims 80 Percent of America’s Drugs Come From China,” Reason, April 6, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/04/06/why-you-shouldnt-trust-anyone-who-claims-80-percent-of-americas-drugs-come-from-china.

19. Ibid.

20. See, e.g., “Food and Drug Administration: Improvements Needed in the Foreign Drug Inspection Program,” U.S. General Accounting Office, March 17, 1998, p. 1. https://www.gao.gov/assets/230/225564.pdf; “Drug Safety: FDA Has Improved Its Foreign Drug Inspection Program, but Needs to Assess the Effectiveness and Staffing of its Foreign Offices,” U.S. General Accounting Office, Dec. 16, 2016, p. 1. https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/681689.pdf.

21. Jacqueline Varas, “U.S. Dependence on Chinese Pharmaceuticals is Overstated,” American Action Forum, May 20, 2020. https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/u-s-dependence-on-chinese-pharmaceuticals-overstated.

22. Ibid.

23. Statement of Janet Woodcock, “Safeguarding Pharmaceutical Supply Chains in a Global Economy,” House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, 116th Congress, Oct. 30, 2019. https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Testimony-Woodcock-API_103019.pdf.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Ibid.

27. International Trade Administration, “2016 Top Market Report: Pharmaceuticals,” U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 2016, p.3. https://legacy.trade.gov/topmarkets/pdf/Pharmaceuticals_Executive_Summary.pdf.

28. “U.S. Biopharmaceutical Goods Export Volume from 2002 to 2018,” Statista, lastaccessed June 8, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/215814/us-biopharmaceutical-export-volume.

29. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “May 2019 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: NAICS 325400 – Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing,” U.S. Dept. of Labor, May 2019. https://www.bls.gov/oes/2019/may/naics4_325400.htm.

30. Sébastien Mirodout, “Resilience Versus Robustness in Global Value Chains: Some Policy Implications,” Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett eds., COVID-19 and Trade Policy: Why Turning Inward Won’t Work (CEPR Press, 2020), p. 123. https://voxeu.org/content/covid-19-and-trade-policy-why-turning-inward-won-t-work.

31. Christian F. Durach et al., “Antecedents and Dimensions of Supply Chain Robustness:A Systematic Literature Review,” International Journal of Physical Distributionand Logistics Management 45:1 (2015), pp. 125-32.

32. Ibid.

33. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supply Chain Update,” Press Release, Feb. 27, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-

34. Ibid.

35. Yasmeen Abutaleb and Erica Warner, “Trump’s support for bipartisan Senate drug pricing bill may not be enough to push it into law,” The Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/02/18/trumps-support-bipartisan-senate-drug-pricing-bill-might-not-be-enough-push-it-into-law.

36. Sally C. Pipes, “Proposed ‘Buy American’ Requirements Would Hurt Patients and the Economy,” Pacific Research Institute, April 2020, p. 6. https://www.pacificresearch. org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/BuyAmerica_F.pdf.

37. “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2011, p. 20.

38. Ibid.

39. Richard Franki, “Top-selling drugs going to patients with diabetes,” MDEdge, March 12, 2018. https://www.mdedge.com/cardiology/article/160612/diabetes/topsellingdrugs-going-patients-diabetes.

40. David J. Neal, “Diabetes medicine recalled for having too much of a carcinogen. More recalls are likely,” Miami Herald, May 29, 2020. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article243081016.html.

41. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “FDA Alerts Patients and Health Care Professionals to Nitrosamine Impurity Findings in Certain Metformin Extended-Release Products,” Press Release, May 28, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/pressannouncements/fda-alerts-patients-and-health-care-professionals-nitrosamineimpurity-findings-certain-metformin.

42. Ibid.

43. “2019 Annual Report,” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Nov. 14, 2019, p. 248. https://www.uscc.gov/annual-report/2019-annual-report.

44. Ibid., p. 249.

45. See, e.g., H.R. 5982, Safe Medicine Act, §3, 116th Congress.

46. CARES ACT, Sec. 3101.

47. See, e.g., H.R. 6049, Medical Supply Chain Security Act, §2(a)(5), 116th Congress.

48. S. 3432, Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act of 2020, 116th Congress.

49. Office of Sen. Tom Cotton, “Cotton, Gallagher Introduce Bill to End U.S. Dependence on Chinese-Manufactured Pharmaceuticals,” Press Release, March 18, 2020. https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1342.

50. Office of Sen. Marco Rubio, “Rubio, Colleagues Introduce the Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act,” Press Release, March 19, 2020. https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/3/rubio-colleagues-introducethe-

51. Section 3101 of Public Law 116-136.

52. See, e.g., Lauren L. Rollins and Clark Packard, “Trump is Trying to Dismantle the WTO. That Can’t Happen,” The Bulwark, April 26, 2019. https://thebulwark.com/trump-is-trying-to-dismantle-the-wto-that-cant-happen; Clark Packard, “Trump’s Real Trade War Is Being Waged on the WTO,” Foreign Policy, Jan. 9, 2020. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/09/trumps-real-trade-war-is-being-waged-on-the-wto.

53. See, e.g., Clark Packard, “Crisis and Opportunity: The Multilateral Trading System at a Crossroads,” R Street Policy Study No. 167, March 2019. https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Final-167.pdf.

54. Bryce Baschuk, “Europe Seeks to Abolish Tariffs in $597 Billion Medical Trade,” Bloomberg, April 16, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-16/europe-seeks-to-abolish-tariffs-in-597-billion-medical-trade.

55. Jason Douglas, “As Countries Bar Medical Exports, Some Suggest Bans May Backfire,” The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/ascountries-bar-medical-exports-some-suggest-bans-may-backfire-11585992600.

56. Dr. Mona Pinchis-Paulsen, “Thinking Creatively and Learning from COVID-19—How the WTO can Maintain Open Trade on Critical Supplies,” OpinioJuris, April 2, 2020. https://opiniojuris.org/2020/04/02/covid-19-symposium-thinking-creatively-andlearning-from-covid-19-how-the-wto-can-maintain-open-trade-on-critical-supplies.

57. Agriculture Ministers, “Ministerial Statement on COVID-19,” G-20, April 21,2020.https://g20.org/en/media/Documents/G20_Agriculture%20Ministers%20Meeting_Statement_EN.pdf.

58. Chad P. Bown, “COVID-19 Could Bring Down the Trading System,” Foreign Affairs, April 28, 2020. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-04-28/covid-19-could-bring-down-trading-system.

59. Note: the TPP moved forward without the United States. It is now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

60. Erica York and Alex Muresianu, “The TCJA’s Expensing Provision Alleviates the Tax Code’s Bias Against Certain Investments,” Tax Foundation, Sept. 5, 2018. https://taxfoundation.org/tcja-expensing-provision-benefits.

61. Ibid.

62. H.R. 6690, The Beat China Act, 116th Cong.

63. Nicole Kaeding, “Correcting the TCJA’s Mistreatment of R&D Costs,” National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Oct. 8, 2019. https://www.ntu.org/foundation/detail/correcting-the-tcjas-mistreatment-of-rd-costs.

64. Caleb Watney and Alec Stapp, “Masks for All: Using Purchase Guarantees and Targeted Deregulation to Boost Production of Essential Medical Equipment,” Mercatus Center, April 8, 2020.https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/watney_and_stapp_-_policy_brief_-_covid_series_-_masks_for_all_-_v1.pdf.

Responding to Coronavirus without limiting freedom

The spread of the coronavirus has been rampant across the globe crippling countries like Italy, Iran, and South Korea where government-run institutions are the ones solely responsible for fighting the outbreak. But, luckily for residents of the United States, our nation operates a bit differently. Because our healthcare system adheres to free market principles, we have the ability to have private industry collaborate with the federal government to help combat the coronavirus which was categorized just last week by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic.

Every day in America, researchers from biopharmaceutical companies are working endlessly to solve the world’s most sophisticated medical issues. As the global leader in medical innovation, the world looks to us in times of crisis. The reason being is our free market approach to healthcare has led to massive private investment and unprecedented funding for the research being carried out by the best and brightest scientific minds in the world who are incentivized to work right here in America.

Simply put, thanks to our private healthcare system that has resulted in decades of massive investment from biopharmaceutical companies, the U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead the charge against the coronavirus today and any other epidemic that may threaten our society tomorrow.

The irony of large scale epidemics like coronavirus is the clear realization of why we have the system that we do. Lamentably, several legislators on Capitol Hill have forgotten the importance of our free market approach both domestically and globally.

For example, just last year a bill led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi made its way through the House of Representatives that, if it becomes law, would decimate funding for new biopharmaceutical research and development. HR3, more commonly known as “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, would stifle future innovation by implementing socialist style government price controls on biopharmaceutical companies as a way to drive down high drug costs.

The adoption of government price controls in the pharmaceutical space is not only short-sighted but flat-out dangerous to public health. People often ask, “why do we pay more for drugs in the U.S. compared to other countries”, the answer is because we invest more in cures and treatments than any other country, and today, everyone should be very happy about that fact.

It’s terrifying to think what the coronavirus outbreak would look like if HR3 had passed 20 years ago. If we are to survive outbreaks and even outpace them, we must have our research teams working at full capacity at all times. In a world of uncertainty, there is no such thing as over-preparedness.

“Do No Harm” in the effort to lower drug costs

As we enter a new decade, advances in medicine hold the promise for a brighter future in the battle against deadly diseases like cancer.  Advances in immunotherapy and targeted gene therapy, for example, present opportunities not even imagined just few years ago.  The challenge for politicians and policy makers is to keep these life-saving advancements coming, while at the same time keeping them affordable for patients.

Getting this balance right is especially important to the large population of Seniors we have in Arizona.

Just 15 years ago a Republican Congress and President modernized Medicare by creating a prescription drug benefit called Medicare Part D.  Unlike other parts of Medicare, Part D was designed on the free-market principles of plan competition and senior choice.  Recognizing that one size does not fit all, every year Seniors have a choice of a variety of plans who compete vigorously for their business.  In order to keep their premiums low and attract Seniors to sign up, plans have a strong incentive to drive a hard bargain with drug manufacturers to keep prices down.

Affordable Drugs

It comes as no surprise to conservatives, that Part D’s free-market model has worked.  When the legislation was passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimated both the cost of the program to Medicare and the average monthly premium a Senior would pay, for the first 10 years of the program.  The actual results were remarkable. 

Medicare spending was 35-40% less than predicted and average monthly premiums projected to be $55 or more in 2016 are in fact only $32.70 in 2020 and that is a slight decrease from 2019.  In addition to these financial measure of success, Part D maintains a Senior Satisfaction Rate in excess of 90%, unheard of for most government programs.

Despite this success, big government advocates like Nancy Pelosi want undermine Medicare Part D and its sister program Medicare Advantage, by importing government price controls from socialist countries.  What is known as an International Pricing Index (IPI) is included in her signature drug pricing legislation which passed the House of Representatives last December. 

President Trump has correctly pointed out that many advanced economies around the world which have socialist health care systems are not paying their fair share of R&D costs for new drugs.  They are freeloading on American consumers.  But the answer is to stop these unfair trade practices, not import their socialist price fixing to the US!

Socialist health systems hold down cost by rationing drugs.  They either wait a long time to make new drugs available to their people, or they are never available.  Writing in Forbes in February 2020 author Doug Schoen points out that “roughly 96% of new cancer medicines are made available in the United States, while the 16 countries used in the International Pricing Index only have 55% of new cancer medicines.  Further, patients in these 16 countries also receive these medications on average 17 months after release, whereas in the United States, patients have almost immediate access to new cancer medicines following FDA approval”.

These cold statistics translate into patient’s lives.  An HIS Markit study published in 2018 “Comparing Health Outcome Due to Drug Access: A Model in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” concludes that half of the gains in life expectancy we have made in fighting lung cancer, the number one cancer killer worldwide, would have been lost if the rationing policies found in Australia, Canada, France, South Korea and the United Kingdom were replicated in the US.”

Government price controls on drugs are not the answer.  But neither is doing nothing.  Fortunately, Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon 2) have introduced legislation to help. 

Their legislation, S. 3129 and H.R. 19, preserve the free-market competition which has worked so well in both Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, but directs that more of the savings from negotiations with drug manufacturers flow directly to the consumer at the pharmacy counter in the form of immediate discounts.  They also cap the annual out-of-pocket spending Seniors must pay for prescription drugs. 

The legislation also takes steps to reduce the freeloading of other developed nations on our R&D and streamlines coordination between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Medicare to insure that new treatment reach Seniors as quickly as possible.

Doctors take an oath, “First, do no harm.”  That’s good advice for politicians and policy makers as well.  Taking steps to lower drug costs to Seniors is important.  But we must do it the right way or we will harm those we are trying to help.

Arizona Conservatives bash FDA for regulatory assault on e-cigarettes

Arizona’s own Goldwater institute has joined a number of center-right leaders in urging Trump’s FDA to stop government overreach into personal health decisions. The coalition is calling a proposed crackdown on e-cigarettes a regulatory assault. Conservative groups nationwide are calling on President Trump to halt FDA commissioner Gottlieb’s panic driven regulatory action.

“FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s effort to curb the $6.6 billion electronic cigarette industry and an even larger reduced risk tobacco alternatives market is inconsistent with your clearly articulated deregulatory objectives and will destroy jobs, limit consumer freedoms, and harm public health.  

This week, a Washington Post op-ed bashed the FDA over its recent crackdown on vaping and e cigarettes

As the column noted, “Last week, a large trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine and led by British researchers showed people trying to quit cigarettes were almost twice as likely to succeed if they used e-cigarettes instead of conventional nicotine-replacement therapies such as patches and gum.”

Nevertheless, FDA commissioner Gottlieb shows no sign of backing down. In an interview Sunday, he said that while the FDA supports the role of e-cigarettes in helping adults quit smoking, “it’s now clear that widespread and sometimes reckless marketing of these products has come at the expense of addicting a new generation of kids on tobacco.”

This is irresponsible at best, and completely inaccurate. Vaping technology is not marketed to kids, and is a great resource for adults who wish to quit smoking.

The letter to President Trump was signed by more than a dozen conservative groups, including Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, ALEC action, Americans for Tax Reform among others. A copy of the letter can be read here.

Guest Opinion: McSally Will Continue The Fight For Your Personal Freedoms

Last month the U.S Food and Drug Administration launched a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarette vaping devices and is ratcheting up pressure on e-cigarette makers. The industry is now facing new challenges as the federal, state, and local governments take new measures to put it under control.

According to the CDC, smoking causes more than 500,000 deaths annually and leads to a plethora of preventable diseases. Since e-cigarettes provide users the ability to control their nicotine consumption, it helps traditional cigarette smokers to gradually kick their nicotine addiction. E-liquids come in varying levels of nicotine, including zero. This can be particularly helpful for long-time smokers who wish to use vapor products to reduce their dependence and transition away from nicotine entirely. These products are specifically designed for adult smokers who wish to live a healthier lifestyle by quitting cigarettes.

Vapor products do not burn tobacco and do not produce smoke, tar, or ash. They only emit vapor. As most e-liquids contain nicotine, they are considered ‘tobacco products’ and regulated as such but these products do not contain any tobacco. E-liquids are only regulated by the FDA because they contain nicotine, which is itself derived from the tobacco plant. These regulations include company registration, product registration, detailed ingredient listings, labeling restrictions, marketing restrictions, and listings of harmful and potentially harmful constituents.

Federal bureaucrats and critics of e-cigarettes are using the myth of a youth vaping “epidemic” to suggest that flavors need to be banned. The truth is, the vaping industry is already working to make sure there are penalties in place for selling vapor products to minors – just like there are for cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets.

As Americans, it is imperative we have the freedom to choose what is best for us and our family. Too often Washington, DC tells us what we can and can’t do. When Congresswoman McSally is elected to the U.S. Senate, she should continue to fight for Arizonans’ personal freedoms, especially for the thousands of adults across our state who need this innovative new technology to live a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking.

Poll: 2:1 Arizona Voters Support a Soda Tax Benefiting Education

Marijuana legalization has poor support if held in a mid-term election

PHOENIX (November 20, 2017) – Last week we released poll results regarding President Donald Trump’s approval rating and the state of the current U.S. Senate race here in Arizona. We also asked several other issue questions. Please note, none of these issues tested are on the ballot for 2018, although our results could lead to an interesting debate.

We conducted a survey of six hundred likely 2018 General Election Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on likely 2018 turnout participated in this survey with a +/-4% MOE.

We begin by looking at the top-line results of the first issue question regarding a soda tax:

Respondents by an almost 2:1 margin support a tax on soda where the proceeds would go directly to education with less than 10% having no opinion. Half of Republicans would be in support, and a plurality of 2/3rd’s of Democrats and Independents support the hypothetical measure.

Females were overwhelmingly supportive and far less opposed compared to males.

·       Male support/oppose       51% / 41%

·       Female support/oppose   67% / 23%

Historically, rural Arizona is more Conservative than Pima and Maricopa counties. Much to our surprise, when looking at the geographic breakdowns, rural Arizona respondents were the most supportive of such a measure, which goes against the grain given conservatives are the most ardent opponents to tax increases.  67% of rural respondents support the measure while only 24% oppose. This may say more about the perceived condition of rural education as it does political ideology.

“According to respondent’s soda is the new ‘sin’. Just like cigarettes and alcohol, people don’t mind adding taxes there for the greater good,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “Cubs win the world series, Trump gets elected president and a Bloomberg policy has 59% support in Arizona – this is the year of the possible.”

The second question dealt with legalization of marijuana:

Legalization of marijuana for personal use was on the ballot last year in Arizona. However, it failed to pass by less than 3-points even though a large amount of money was spent in support of the measure. If this measure was on the ballot for 2018 it would underperform compared to the 2016 election results.

“Legalizing marijuana in Arizona is much less viable in a mid-term election however there is a strong chance we will see them take another run at it in 2020,” said Noble.

Finally, the remaining issue questions asked:

By more than a 2:1 margin respondents opposed non-U.S. citizen students receiving the benefit of in-state tuition at an Arizona University. 85% of Republicans and half of the Independents were in opposition, although half of Democrats were in favor. Interestingly, 25% of respondents who have some college education or are a college graduate held a negative 37-point opinion.

 

Methodology: This automated survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 9th, 2017, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, geographic location and gender however age leaned heavily towards 55+ respondents due to it being automated. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4%.

The Pardon

By Sheila K Muehling

Today with coffee in hand, I opened the Sunday edition of the newspaper and what did I see but the two faces of President Trump and Joe Arpaio and a headline, “Pardon, Politics & Power.” We just can’t stop seeing the press constantly needling anything to get things riled up. So I decided to take a look at one of the humanitarian arguments MSM prints on a daily basis.

Many of the protesters have demanded Arpaio’s head on a platter as justice for the thousands of poor families who have been ripped apart. The children who’s parents have been returned to their country leaving them without a mother or a father to take care of them. The argument that the parents made a choice to come to this country illegally in hopes of staying here, falls on deaf ears. The pardoning of Joe Arpaio is a slap to the poor children who see this as injustice to their own futures.

To those children whose parents have been or will be deported I say yes, it is unfair to you and you deserve to have your parents. To those same children I say go with your parents and work hard to make a life and be successful. Your future is up to you regardless of where you live. The good thing is your parents are alive and can give you a loving hug and support as you grow to be adults no matter where you live.

But now let’s look at another use of the Presidential pardon system. How about President Obama? Over and over the accusations fly through the media that Joe Arpaio caused death and destruction of families as he rounded up the illegal population. Arpaio targeted cooks, bricklayers, gardeners, housekeepers and nannies. He took dads and moms from innocent little children. How dare he be pardoned!

Joe Arpaio

Joe Arpaio

Here is a list of who President Obama pardoned. As you look at the list, I want to share what I see as I compare these pardons to the pardoning of Joe Arpaio.

President Obama was a supporter of releasing men and women who trafficked in illegal drugs. I submit that more children and families were destroyed by drugs and drug trafficking than were ever destroyed by Joe Arpaio’s focus on arresting and removing illegal immigrants. If you have ever worked in the child welfare area of any state you see death and destruction. Innocent babies born drug addicted who often never get over the medical issues they face day in and day out as they shake and cry thorough early withdrawal from drugs fed to them through the mother’s bloodstream. The children who spend the first five years of their lives with doctors and hospitals, more drugs and more treatments and hours with counselors who try to help them feel normal. The children who grow into angry teenagers who never understand what a normal life is all about.

Then there are the children who face a lifetime of watching their parents spend time not on books and toys or cheering them on at their sports games but instead, spend time doing drugs and displaying out of control behavior.

Children who know when mommy and daddy are high and how to stay out of their way. Children who go to school hiding the bruises, cigarette burns and wounds inflicted on them by their parents. They face the embarrassment of soiled and torn clothing, lice infested heads, sleep deprivation, worn shoes and hungry bellies.

I support President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio. As a taxpayer, I want to stop spending my taxes on the prosecution of an 82-year old man who believed that he was elected to enforce the law. President Trump did the right thing to put this issue behind all of us. This is over.

President Obama on the other hand put drug dealers back on the street. Most of them are probably still doing the same thing they have always done, destroying families and people. We will continue to spend our tax dollars to prosecute these same people and pay to keep them fed, clothed and entertained in the prison system. We will continue to try and heal the children who are affected by the people Obama pardoned. When will that be over, never.

Poll: Nearly Half of Voters Say Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle Should Stay

OH Predictive

Over half aware of DUI citation, primarily through mass media

Phoenix, AZ (June 22, 2017) –  Arizona is never short of hot political issues or debates, and typically a City Council position gets little to no attention – that is until now. There have been ongoing conversations about whether Mesa City Councilman Ryan Winkle, District 3 should resign from office or remain in his position, following his May arrest on suspicion of DUI. We asked the voters of his district their opinions, and if they believe the Councilman of six months should resign or stay.

Nationally recognized polling firm, OH Predictive Insights, conducted a survey comprised of 304 currently registered Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters registered in Mesa’s 3rd City Council District. The survey was conducted from June 8th to June 19th, with 49% of the sample contacted on their cellular phones, and 51% of the voters reached via landlines.

Among the results:

Ryan Winkle Poll

“While over half of Councilman Winkle’s constituents have heard of his recent DUI citation, he still holds a 2 to 1 positive favorability number to remain in his council seat,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “Nearly half of those polled think the Councilman should remain in office, approximately one-third of his constituents believe he should resign, and 17% did not indicate an opinion either way.”

Noble added, “In the eyes of the voter, Winkle is down, but definitely not out.”

Methodology: This live and automated caller survey was conducted by Phoenix based-OH Predictive Insights from June 8th to June 19th, 2017, from an active registered voter sample in Mesa City Council District 3.  The sample size was 304 completed surveys, with a MoE of +/-5.61%.  49% of surveys were conducted on cell phones and 51% via land lines.

View the press release online.

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