A Cure for an Ailing Nation
A Cure for an Ailing Nation
The United States is currently experiencing the highest medicine prices since its inception. The said prices are rising faster than the inflation rates, as high as 300%. The sick populace is left at the mercy of the merciless pharmaceutical industry. The dream of a free market with the consumer at the helm is increasingly becoming nightmare. The exit of multiple companies from the pharmaceutical industry has rendered innate price controls from market forces in effective. It follows that the remaining companies have monopoly over the prices. The government has proved reluctant to curb the blatant extortion of consumers by these capitalistic companies. The exorbitant pricing by the companies has necessitated strategic efforts towards reducing the detrimental trend. The US values the concept of free market and strives to preserve its sanctity. While attempting to remedy the situation, they must ensure that the above is preserved. Direct regulation by the government should be employed as a last resort. To this end, research has posited that encouraging competition in the Pharmaceutical industry through shortening the length of medicine patents is a lasting solution.
Equilibrium has to be struck between a profitable company and public interest. The current medical situation has forced the ill to forgo medicine for other basic needs. The doctors prescribe drugs that are beyond the patients’ financial capability. The health of a nation’s citizens is central to the continued success of its economy (Adamson). This can only be possible when medication is affordable. On the other hand, thriving companies add to the countries Gross Domestic Product. Nonetheless, the said increase in GDP usually reflects only in the bottom line of the elite of the country. Subsequently, this disparity negates any benefit accruing from the explicit economic growth in the grassroots. Though the government has explicitly rebuked the gouging of medicine by the Pharmaceutical companies, their efforts or lack thereof imply indifference.
The government has to make a decisive stand on the issue, within reason of course. The structure put in place to regulate the market, the Federal Trade Commission, ought to ensure that the profits made by the companies neither excessive nor absent (Vernon 23). The companies ought to be rewarded for their Research and Development breakthroughs to stimulate more innovation. By shortening the patent of companies, new entrants will be attracted to have a share of the endless possibilities. The resultant generic drugs will disrupt the monopoly of the new drug. The innovative company will have had it time to recoup costs and enjoy the corresponding profit. Meanwhile, the companies will be inhibited from manifesting the latent greed innate in the capitalistic economy. The competitive market forces will bring down the prices making them affordable to the ordinary citizen. The market leader will have to continue innovating to preserve its position.
Direct controls are not sustainable in a truly free market. Though they may at times be necessary, they should be utilized sparingly. Profiteers with little regard to ethics of their respective practices pioneer the capitalist market. Waiting for them to become conscious of their greed is naïve at best. The above insensitivity of firms warrants intervention of the government. The said government ought to compare the production costs of companies with that of other developed countries in order to gauge the level of intervention required; excessive controls disincentives innovation. The medicine that is currently at high prices will become none existent, worsening the problem. The government ought to limit its action to guiding market forces towards the right direction.
Adamson, David. “Site-wide Navigation.” Regulating Drug Prices: U.S. Policy Alternatives in a Global Context. AND Health, 2008. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.
Vernon, John A. “Drug Research and Price Controls: What Would Happen If the United States Adopted Other Countries’ Drug Price Regulations? (Health & Medicine).” Regulation 22 Dec. 2002. Print.
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