Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Former NC GOP leader: State treasurer must reverse course on weight-loss drugs

By Vaseline May26,2024

When it comes to meddling in medical markets and denying life-saving drugs to citizens with chronic diseases, US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has no equal this side of Europe, or perhaps Canada. But surprisingly, North Carolina’s Republican state treasurer, Dale Folwell, is now flirting with government control of private businesses.

R. Lee Currie, Jr.R. Lee Currie, Jr.

R. Lee Currie, Jr.

In Washington DC, Sanders wants the federal government to set the prices companies can charge for diabetes and weight loss drugs. As Sanders well knows, price controls lead to shortages and rationing, harming rather than helping consumers. According to Sanders, big government always knows best.

In an effort to save money on state retiree health plans, North Carolina Treasurer Folwell has urged the NC State Health Plan Board of Trustees to cut 25,000 state and local employees’ access to weight-loss medications. that help them prevent heart attacks. strokes, cancer and other costly diseases. In my view that was shortsighted.

Yes, innovative weight loss medications and other medications are often relatively expensive at first. That’s because the companies that invent them need to recoup their long-term investments in research and development, not just current production costs. But over time, prices drop.

Despite being political opposites, and perhaps for different reasons, Sanders and Folwell both want to increase the government’s power to set drug prices. But private insurers and others already negotiate bulk prices with drug manufacturers, often receiving discounts of 50% or more. There is no need for government bureaucrats to interfere with the free market.

It is extremely unwise to stand in the way of the supply of weight-loss medications to those who need them. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two in five American adults are obese, and more than one in 10 have diabetes.

The purpose of healthcare is not only to save money, but also to promote good health and well-being. But financially, obesity costs the U.S. medical system about $150 billion a year. State and federal governments pay a high price for the hospital stays, doctor visits and lost workdays of overweight workers who need support and should not shy away.

New anti-obesity drugs offered by several manufacturers are offering incalculable benefits to overweight Americans, who are at costly risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis.

In North Carolina, tens of thousands of state and local workers benefited from the FDA-approved drugs — potentially increasing work productivity, quality of life and longevity — until Folwell convinced the State Health Plan’s board of directors to suspend effective April 1 stop paying for it. .

Folwell would do well to investigate the long-term benefits of anti-obesity drugs. I bet the benefits far outweigh the costs. I don’t say this emotionally, and I don’t say it politically. I say it mathematically – and humanly.

Reducing obesity saves money and suffering. It is the right thing to do both morally and economically. We hope Folwell makes an easy move by restoring access to obesity medications for state and local government officials, and then rightly takes credit for it.

R. Lee Currie, Jr. is a businessman in Clayton, NC and former director of the NC Republican Party.

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