Counterfeit drugs

The Economist recently ran an article on the evils of counterfeit prescription drugs and the ways companies (and governments and the Vatican) are trying to stop them. Fake drugs can make diseases worse and can even be fatal.

Somehow or the other we all have to find a way out of this world. Sometimes one thinks the health care takes advantage of the emotions surrounding this issue to exploit people.

It may be that the fake drug trade indicates the extent to which drugs are beyond the means of so many people. .The drug companies are concerned about the “lost revenue” from so many sales they would not have in any case because of the high costs.

One of the features of perfect competition is perfect knowledge – about production techniques as well as about prices. Therefore we should be hesitant about patent and copyright legislation.

One of the arguments for copyrights and patents is that it encourages innovation. However, if the Romans had had copyright, we would not have the Bible. If the Elizabethans had had copyright legislation we would not have Shakespeare’s plays and music students have told me the same applies to classical music. I have even read that the British industrial revolution happened in spite of patent legislation because it was not effectively enforced.

If we were to repeal copyright and patent legislation drug prices would come down, there would probably be more new drugs, especially for the most serious diseases rather than those of the rich peoples of the world. We might also have some incentive to prevent disease by living a healthy lifestyle.


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