American innovators deserve protection from foreign freeloaders
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China MORE pledged in his campaign to be a strong negotiator for the American people – and he has delivered. This administration has done more to bring peace and security to the Korean Peninsula than any previous one; the president brought Mexico and Canada to the table to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the benefit of our workers and farmers; and President Trump has all areas of the government working to fix our health care system, including lowering prescription drug prices. 

More new medicines are developed on American soil than anywhere else in the world. In fact, 118 of the 252 new medicines approved between 1998 and 2007 were developed in the United States. For context, the countries coming in just behind the U.S. only developed around 20 new medicines during that same period. But unfortunately, we have the highest prescription drug prices in the world because the below-market prices mandated by other governments mean that the U.S. shoulders the global burden for innovation. It’s time for other countries to stop taking advantage of our hard work.

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Here’s the problem: Americans scientists and companies put in immense amounts of time, brainpower and money into researching and developing potential new medicines. When a new treatment is approved, it’s sold in other countries for less than the price paid by American patients. That’s because countries with government-run health care systems set prices at exceedingly low rates, getting a free ride at the expense of capitalism and more importantly, our own citizens.  

Routinely, the United States is paying the cost of developing innovative and life-saving prescription drugs while other countries refuse to pay their fair share for their health care needs. Price controls in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, South Korea and Japan, for example, result in these countries paying 30 percent below the actual market rate for medicines created by American innovators. Other countries—like India and Indonesia—have resorted to just flat out stealing patents for new medicines to make cheap knock-off versions.

This egregious pilfering of American innovation must be stopped—it’s unfair, it’s unsustainable and it’s why I’m taking a stand for North Carolinians and all Americans with my “Fixing Global Freeloading Act.” This legislation will establish a U.S. Chief Pharmaceutical Negotiator responsible for ensuring that American inventors are being defended and that the countries benefiting from our innovation are playing by the rules.

Under this new bill, no longer will countries with unfair pricing policies be able to leach off the hard work, outstanding dedication and significant investment of American workers. For too long, we’ve let the world take advantage of the United States and nowhere is this problem worse than it is for medicines. In fact, many other American industries, such as agriculture and manufacturing, have negotiators advocating for, and protecting their innovation—it’s high time we assign a dedicated chief negotiator to the very industry most impacted by this freeloading from foreign interests who are supposed partners and allies.

The American people deserve a negotiator as tenacious and dedicated as they are. President Trump has been that negotiator. Let’s give him the tools he needs to stop foreign governments from taking advantage of our ideas and hard-earned dollars. Our trade agreements with these foreign nations have protective mechanisms in place for a reason, it’s time we use them and it’s time we stop footing the bill here for bad policies there. 

Supporting the “Fixing Global Freeloading Act” is supporting American workers, American economic progress and American values. Across the board we’re working to show that America is tough on trade, and it’s critical that we take a stand for our patients in the process.

Meadows is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.