The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has issued a “Drug Shortage Bulletin” for labetolol, a drug used to save people’s lives who are in the midst of a hypertensive crisis. According to the bulletin, reasons for the shortage include “manufacturing delays” and “demand exceeding supply”. Of course, this notion that there is a “shortage” of labetolol is total nonsense.
The free market for labetolol and other life-sustaining drugs is functioning exactly correctly. There is no “shortage” of any of these drugs. If the person who “needs” this drug was willing to pay enough for it, the free-market would ensure that it was available at that price. Thus, any patient who cannot obtain a life-sustaining drug to save their life deserves to die, as the efficient free-market has determined by setting the price and availability of the drug.