Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ruling by Fiat, or Preparing to Fail, Again

President Obama is signing yet another executive order to implement by fiat what he cannot get Congress to implement via valid legislation.

This particular executive order concerns prescription drug shortages and the potentials for price gouging.
“The shortage of prescription drugs drives up costs, leaves consumers vulnerable to price gouging and threatens our health and safety,” an administration official says.
The order apparently directs the FDA to "take action" to help prevent drug shortages. Oh, and it expresses support for bipartisan legislation intended to do the same thing. One of those pieces of legislation is Senate Bill 296. What does this Herculean feat of legislative legerdemain accomplish? It "require[s] a prescription drug manufacturer to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of a discontinuance, interruption, or other adjustment of the manufacture of the drug that would likely result in a shortage of such drug."

Are you kidding me? You've added a regulatory burden which can be used to bludgeon Big Pharma, and that's IT?!? What is HHS or the FDA going to do? Tell a drug company that they can't discontinue a drug line any longer? This is yet another case of picking winners and losers, and trying the failed Communist experiment of centralized management of industry.

You know what would work better? Remove some of the tariffs and import barriers and allow drugs to be imported from Canada.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Big Pharma went on a successful rent-seeking expedition and got the competition excluded from the marketplace.

So now we see the results of rent seeking and crony capitalism. Drugs are artificially scarce, they're too expensive, and now the government is going to stick its nose into a situation that will only be made worse by their intrusion.

Can we please get something approximating a free market back?

1 comment:

  1. You mean allow the little people to think and decide for themselves? On their own even?

    But, but...then who will pay the bureaucrats and the politicians for being officious and high handed busybodies?