Dumb or what?
Oh Panasonic is hardly alone there, Olympus is sick in the same hospital, as we say:
The new 60mm macro lens is RSP US$ 499 before sales tax.
In Switzerland the RSP, after deducting 8% VAT, is CHF 735. As of today that is 610€, 489£ or 777$. There's not even the usual recycling tax on lenses, as opposed to other electronic equipment.
We're used to paying a premium price for everything but water and air here, but this is extreme even by Swiss standards. Consequently, I can't afford the lens in my own country, while I just might in the US. Even if I order it in the states, have it shipped for 40$ and add customs and VAT tax, I'm still going to save approximately a third of the original price in US dollars. I wonder who decides the price points.