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Hurricanes & Pharmaceutical Prices

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Image Credit While the Democrats and President Trump have expressed support for reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he will oppose efforts to impose price controls, saying that “Socialist price controls will do a lot of left-wing damage to the healthcare system.” This does not, of course, entail that McConnel would oppose all efforts to reduce the cost of drugs, but it does seem to express a general opposition to the state engaging in efforts to control prices. This view is typically defended on free market grounds: the market should set the prices for products rather than the state. The stock moral argument, going back to the beginning of capitalism, is that everyone will be better off this way. One obvious problem with defending drug pricing on free market grounds is that the pharmaceutical industry is largely based on the state enforcing drug patents—that is, the state uses its coercive power to ensure that the market is restricted rather than free. While it is reasonable to debate what regulations, if any, should exist the fact that this sort of regulation is accepted does open the door to additional regulation. To use an analogy, if someone says that they will oppose all efforts for their family to have a pet on the grounds of the principle of the pet-free house and yet they already have a dog, then the door would thus seem to be open to more pets. After all, the principle has already been violated. This does not preclude debating about whether to get another pet but justifying not getting another pet by appealing to the no-pet policy would be absurd. As such, the free-market argument is rather problematic—unless companies are willing to fully embrace the free market. This does not provide a positive argument for price control, at best it takes away an argument against it. I now turn to an argument for price control of certain drugs. My adopted state of Florida is routinely ravaged by. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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