Fix This, Uncle Sam!

Many of you have kids with food allergies that can cause potentially deadly anaphylactic reactions.  My wife and I have one child with severe allergies to certain nuts, so we’re in the same boat as you.

If you do have kids with these types of severe allergies, you are well aware of of the sustained price increases of the only immediate-reaction drug available to you: Mylan’s EpiPen.  It has become quite the stir lately, and as usual, the media is pouring gasoline on the flames of rage that were otherwise simmering in the hearts of parents in America.

The typical response when we’re feeling fleeced by drug companies is to shout at the government to do something.  Senators take up the cause and issue press releases, draft bills, etc. all in an attempt to make us feel they are listening to our concerns.

But this really is an adventure in missing the point – asking the government to step in and regulate, or put a ceiling on, prices.  I get that it makes the quickest sense to most of us, but we’re completely overlooking the “why” we got here when we settle for a government-enforced fix.

The real reason EipPen costs have soared is because there’s basically ZERO competition in the market for Mylan’s EpiPen. Why is there little to no real competition?  Well, since we’re currently in the mood to shout at the government, let’s ask them!

The FDA, and other government health regulatory industries, are notorious for creating rules and procedures that crowd out the innovative competitors in drug markets.  If you want to get your drug to market, and through the FDA approval process, you better have some big pockets.

And then there’s the issue of patents.  That’s a topic for a whole ‘nother day, really.  We think patents are good because they keep bad people from stealing intellectual property.  And sure, for a period of time, that’s right.  But having long-term patents stifles competition and creates the behemoth industry giants that we see today.  Their coffer of lawyers and monster legal budgets can beat back anyone who wants to even THINK about challenging their patented products or technologies. This is no good for all of us in the long run. Mark Cuban has more coherent thoughts on all of this than me, in case you want to read more.

So if you want something to be done about the rising costs of an EpiPen, I suggest you tell your government to let market competition have a fairer chance.  Clamoring for the government to regulate the price of a drug only invites the lobbyists and insiders to wine and dine the proper government agency heads to set prices that will inevitably no good for anyone.  Especially you, the taxpayer.

Adding to the noise,

– Nic



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