There is often a need to help people out with the definition of “fascism” — a term used quite loosely to describe any politican or party with whom you might disagree (or despise). But it actually is derived from the Italian “fascimo” which means “bundle”. Some say that bundling corporate power with government achieves the necessary level of autocracy that can impose the will of dictator on the citizenry. Others refer to the wrapping of rods around an axe handle to make it stronger and unbreakable. In any case when the government imposes regulatory burdens that favor only a few (ie, those who have paid someone enough), we have a form of “fascism” if you will. This works well when it comes to making the American public pay a lot for medications. It is most definitely NOT a marketplace….In today’s Wall Street Journal there is a particularly articulate expose of how the Obama administration has unleveled the playing field:
One of the biggest factors fueling the angst over drug prices in the U.S. is that some older medicines that should be sold cheaply as generics are still priced very high, often owing to a dwindling number of generic competitors and the rising cost of producing these drugs. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton like to blame generic-company mergers and greedy drugmakers. But a closer look reveals that a series of regulatory policy blunders is at fault.
The key to the generic-drug economic model is to keep entry prices low enough to attract multiple competitors. One FDA study estimated that consumers pay 94% of the branded drug’s price for a generic if there is only one generic entrant. But the price falls to about 40% if there are four competitors, and 20% when there are eight.
Yet of the more than 1,300 branded drugs on the market, about 10% have seen patents expire but still face zero generic competition, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. New regulations have, in many cases, made it no longer economically viable for more than one generic firm to enter the market.
— excerpted from “How Obama’s FDA Keeps Generic Drugs Off the Market”, WSJ, Aug 20, 2016, by Scott Gottlieb
So when a an old drug for gout costing $.10 a tablet is “reintroduced” under the new regulations, “repatented”, and is priced at $8 per capsule, it does not serve the public health in the least. Nor is it remotely close to a competitive marketplace. The only ones who win are the companies who pay their lobbyists the most to curry favor with the key parts of government…who then just look the other way.