The Congressional Budget Office has said that personal importation would shave $7 billion off the deficit 10 years. That might not seem like a lot. However when you consider that this is just the savings the government would realize, the implications for individuals would be much higher yet. For those people who have no insurance, poor insurance, have low incomes, or some combination of those traits personal importation is a vital lifeline. Over 40 million people did not fill their prescriptions last year due to cost. That’s far too many. Personal importation is valuable tool to which every American should have access. They shouldn’t have to sacrifice the necessities of life to afford their life saving drugs.
The US tobacco market is huge. In the US during 2016 a whopping 258 billion cigarettes were sold which adds up to $79.6 billion in yearly sales; not quite as big as the pharmaceutical market but certainly extremely lucrative. In the US, taxes account for about 44% of the retail price of cigarettes. Compared to other jurisdictions around the world, this is low. In Canada, for example, taxes account for roughly 70% of retail tobacco prices. In other places it’s higher. Countries like Greece, Israel, Poland, and Finland have taxes that make up 80% or more of retail tobacco prices. Tobacco is an easy target for politicians looking to raise money without much public anger. It’s considered a vice tax; i.e. a tax on something people consider generally immoral. To people born in the 1990s and later the idea that smoking was once acceptable in hotels, airplanes, restaurants etc. is strange or even alarming. Smoking is no longer the socially acceptable, amoral activity it used to be.
Scientists are looking to a century old discovery to aid them in combating antibiotic resistant bacteria. They are called bacteriophages. Like many of the world’s greatest medical advances, they were discovered accidentally. Two researchers working independently, and two years apart, found that bacteria that came into contact with their viral cultures disappeared. They correctly concluded that the bacteria had been destroyed by the viruses. The research did not move much further. The bacteriophages were tough to purify, administer and even to isolate. They were also a victim of advances in antibiotics, which were plentiful and far easier to make and use.