Honda’s immigration views run contrary to U.S. interest

In support of his own Reuniting Families Act, Rep. Honda points out that the largest current backlogs for extended family members are from “the world’s most populous nations, India and China.” His legislation would set in motion an exponential increase in family chain migration that would put America’s already ecologically unsustainable population trajectory on a path that rivals China’s and India’s.

Rep. Honda points out that about $69 billion a year now flows out of our economy in the form of remittances sent to India, China and the Philippines alone. Increasing the flow of immigration from those countries would dramatically increase, not reduce, the hemorrhaging of dollars out of our struggling economy as more people send more money to more relatives in their homelands.

Finally, Rep. Honda concedes that large segments of the Asian/Pacific Islander immigrant community “still struggle in low-wage labor,” and that “ethnic subgroups struggle to graduate 50 percent of their young males from high school.” How, exactly, would increasing immigration among groups that struggle in low-wage labor and whose children are failing educationally in large numbers help either the nation or the immigrants who are already struggling?


Don’t neglect safety in cutting drug costs

From Thair Phillips, president, RetireSafe

Generic drug manufacturers play a role in holding down medical costs and stretching the fixed income budgets of millions of seniors who often require multiple medications. But a new generation of drugs called biologics creates new medical and regulatory challenges. Unlike more traditional medicines, biologics involve the use of organic proteins and carbohydrates. Biologics have paved the way for more effective treatments of diabetes, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, multiple sclerosis and other medical conditions prevalent among older patients.

Traditional drugs, like pills used to treat high cholesterol, are made of chemicals that can be combined in a very precise recipe, making it easy to develop generic versions. Unlike small-molecule drugs, biologics are exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to replicate.

A patient taking a branded prescription chemical drug may be able to take a less expensive and equally effective generic drug after consulting with his or her doctor. The same cannot be said for patients taking branded biologics.

There is currently no regulatory pathway for testing and approving follow-on biologics, also known as biosimilars. Follow-on biologics should not be deemed interchangeable with the original biologic the same way that a traditional generic drug is interchangeable with its brand-name counterpart. Premature action by the FDA or incomplete legislation by Congress could have serious ramifications on patient safety. The risk of untested biosimilars being given to patients is real.  ...

Reducing drug costs is critical for older Americans and must remain a priority for the Obama administration, Congress and the FDA. But it’s also critical that biosimilar drugs are proven just as safe as the brand name versions.  Only proper testing can ensure the safety of biosimilars, and older Americans should demand nothing less. The FDA should only approve drugs that have been proven, through extensive testing, to be safe.