“Free” Drugs Courtesy of Al Gore

by | Oct 5, 2000

Al Gore promises cheap or free prescription drugs for everybody. Wow! What a deal! I’m going to vote for Gore. How nice of him! Where has he been all these years? Wait a minute. There must be a reason why some drugs are so expensive. Could it be that drug companies spend a fortune on […]

Al Gore promises cheap or free prescription drugs for everybody.

Wow! What a deal! I’m going to vote for Gore. How nice of him! Where has he been all these years?

Wait a minute. There must be a reason why some drugs are so expensive. Could it be that drug companies spend a fortune on research, and are seeking to recover their costs? This would seem to be supported by the fact that eventually the price of most drugs goes down — at least if they work, and are in high enough demand.

Drugs, after all, are no different from other products on the marketplace. I remember when cell phones first came on the market; they were outrageously expensive. Eventually the costs came down. The same was true of computers, VCRs, and nearly everything else sold on the marketplace.

Gore and others like him say high prices are the exercise of brute power by drug companies. But wait a minute. Drug companies can’t force people to do anything. You don’t have to buy their drugs. Others are free to compete with them.

The government, on the other hand, can force people to do things, at gunpoint (or the threat of prison, which is the same thing). By what right do you and I turn the drug companies into our slaves?

On second thought, I think I’ll pass on Gore’s proposal. If the government forces drug companies to stop charging so much, this also means the drug companies are not going to spend the millions required on researching new drugs.

If Gore’s idea wins out, then we might have lower drug costs. But we’ll have lower quality drugs too. That’s far too high a price to pay for Al Gore’s free lunch.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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