Ron Paul is widely considered to be a libertarian and one sees that reflected in many aspects of his campaign site, though it is not entirely true of his outlook on healthcare.
Take, for example, his outlook on the rights of individuals in the right to bear arms, which he favors, and an individual’s right to import drugs for their own use, which he also favors. However, when it comes to a woman’s decision regarding her pregnancy, he opts to let the states decide – so libertarian up to a point.
He expressly states in the Issues section of his campaign Web site that he opposes giving the FDA any increased authority and seems to oppose standards that exercise control over quality. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order to comply with standards dictated by supra-national organizations such as the UN‘s World Food Code (CODEX), NAFTA, and CAFTA, has been assuming greater control over nutrients, vitamins and natural health care providers to restrict your right to choose the manner in which you manage your health and nutritional needs. I have been the national leader in preserving Health Freedom."
There is also a not-so-between the lines message that drugs are bad and food and dietary supplements are good. It is safe to assume that he takes a dim view of the industry and the agency in charge of its regulation. He stands for "Health Freedom" which seems to mean the freedom to choose to take whatever you want to take whenever you want to take it for whatever reason. He would expand access and control costs by making individuals primarily responsible for paying their bills with backup in the way of tax deductions for unreimbursed expenses. He opposes managed care and universal coverage.
Respecting our five domains:
- Importation of Drugs – Congressman Paul has voted in favor of drug importation by voting yes on the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act.
- Medicare Part D Reform – Congressman Paul has voted in favor of reforming Part D to allow the government to negotiate prices.
- Pharmaceutical Marketing Restrictions -There is nothing direct here, but one would logically infer that given his history of voting against anything not specifically stated in the Constitution as permissible, any infringements on free speech, even commercial, would not be seen in a favorable light by the candidate.
- Follow-on-Biologic Regulation – While there are no specifics with regard to FOBs, he has stated that he is not in favor of granting the FDA any new authorities and a regulatory pathway for FOBs would be considered new… One might assume that he believes the FDA already has the authority it needs to approve FOBs.
- Generic Promotion – It is probably safe to say that the candidate does not believe that the federal government has any role in promoting generic competition, but would favor the free market to take care of the issues associated with generic competition.
Analysis: A Ron Paul Administration on one hand, might be very favorable to the pharmaceutical industry insofar as he does not favor giving the FDA increased authorities. However, if one believes, as I do, that the images of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA are intrinsically linked, it could also be a challenge for industry. His apparent penchant for promoting complementary medicine and alternative therapies also might end up being an expression of antipathy towards the pharmaceutical industry. The key to this candidate’s outlook is the very limited role he sees for federal government and would defer to the states on a wide range of public policies.