Wonk Smackdown–Drug Price Policy Edition

If this is the best that Andrew Sullivan can do in responding to Kevin Drum on health care policy, then he should stick to torture (writing about it, I mean).

The backstory is that Andrew, with some help from Mark, is convinced that what he (inaccurately) calls “socialized medicine” will destroy drug innovation. Kevin responds by saying nonsense: all it means is that Europeans will pay a little more for drugs, and we will pay less. In any event, as he and Mark note, if we really want to innovate, we can always set up a public program. You can judge the argument for yourself.

Andrew’s new response is really beneath him. He contends yet again that the pharmaceutical industry in Europe is beleaguered and besieged by crushing overregulation. And what is his evidence for this? The pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying website. What possible motivation could they have for claiming something that isn’t true?! If a lobbying group claims something, you can take that to the bank.

If a smart guy like Andrew can’t do any better than that, I think it’s pretty clear who has won.

By the way, we should give credit where credit is due: throughout the debate, Andrew has been posting several e-mails from readers who disagree with him and argue for single-payer systems.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.