War On Drugs Convenient Excuse For Big Pharma Monopoly

One of the reasons why criminal activity fosters violence is that criminals want to use force to not only commit crimes but to prevent other people from committing crimes. Drug dealers are probably the most well-known examples. They don’t just want to sell drugs to customers; they want to be the only suppliers in a region who can sell drugs to customers. Otherwise, profits soon drop and there is no good reason to choose to b e a drug dealer rather than get a job serving fast food.

Drug dealers aren’t the only ones who do this. Pharmaceutical companies follow the same method. But rather than hiring freelance gunners (yet), they used the US government. The justification for this is patents or “intellectual property” (which is actually intellectual monopoly). The theory (which I do think makes some sense) is that the only way to motivate investment in the research the development of new drugs will require company to profit from them. So, for a time, our nation’s legal system gave drug companies temporary monopolies so they can get rewarded for their invention.

The Food and Drug Administration is supposed to oversee this system while making sure that only “safe” drugs are permitted to be sold. One of the drugs they have approved is OxyContin, but, as the New York Times reports, the drug is both strongly addictive and also of questionable efficacy,

“The decision by the F.D.A. comes at a time when the efficacy of strong narcotics like OxyContin for the treatment of long-term pain has come under increasing scrutiny. Citing poor outcomes, some insurers are also seeking to limit how doctors use the drugs.”

What decision? That is where this whole system becomes bizarre. The same agency that approved the drug as safe or effective enough is also saying that it is too unsafe to ever end the company’s monopoly profits on that same drug!

“In a major policy move, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it would not approve generic versions of the powerful narcotic OxyContin, the painkiller that symbolized a decade-long epidemic of prescription drug abuse. The move represents a victory for OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma…”

Yes, I would say it amounts to a forever monopoly so that anyone who really needs the drug will have to pay much higher prices because other people might abuse it. This is now the “new normal” for how to get everlasting monopoly profits:

“Along with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of another long-acting narcotic painkiller, Endo Pharmaceuticals, has also petitioned the F.D.A. seeking a similar claim of abuse resistance for a newer version of one of its drugs, Opana. If that claim proves successful, generic versions of the original form of Opana would also be barred.”

Notice the new “development” behavior. Assuming you believe the claims about how these drugs can be made “safer” (which the article shows to have been wrong in the past), the government is actively encouraging companies to release less safe versions of drugs, rake in the monopoly profits, then “fix” the problems with a new version that again gives them monopoly profits and denies other companies the right to copy the first version of the drug.

File this under: government watchdogs as wolves.