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Oct 04 2011

The Myth Of “Drug Shortages”

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.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Phledge

    I sorta wondered why so many crucial drugs were having shortages. First it was Levophed, then it was dopamine, and now it’s labetalol? Yeah, bullshit.

  2. 2
    Tom Clark

    Just to clarify: is this sarcasm?

  3. 3
    Chebag

    check the masthead, TC. Typical Libertarian bullcrappio from “skeptics”, I’m afraid.

  4. 4
    skeptifem

    they should really call it a “survival surplus”, amirite?

  5. 5
    Isis the Scientist

    PP’s toooooootally on point with this one, dudes. Same kind of thing caused the shortage of Toyotas and Hondas earlier in the year.

  6. 6
    MonkeyPox

    No offense, but how come you’re not writing about the current NYY/Detroit series?

  7. 7
    davidct

    There is slightly more evidence for a free market than there is for god. Not much however.

  8. 8
    ckerst

    Another scam being run is discontinuing the production of older generic drugs and then releasing them under another name at a higher price. Cholchine, for gout is no longer available the new version Colcyrs costs much more and is the same drug.

  9. 9
    haha

    yeah,

    when I was living in the Soviet Union I used to read the newspaper called “Truth” (I shit you not, check wikipedia), and man, that “free market” was one frightening motherfucker of a concept. We had no such thing, you see – our economy was planned by “State Planning Committee”. So if we, living as we were in the workers paradise, had to pay cash bribes to doctors to get decent care or access imported pharmaceuticals, think what the poor downtrodden proletariat in the US, under exploitative yoke of capitalists must suffer!

    Did you know that under FDA regulations, pharmaceuticals manufacturer must ask FDA’s permission in order to increase production levels?

  10. 10
    Ava, Oporornis maledetta

    A good friend of mine had to wait 5 weeks for a needed chemotheraphy treatment for her ovarian cancer because they “ran out of it,” i.e., are allowed by an emasculated FDA to get away with blatant price manipulation.

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