Enjoy it

Enjoy it

How do we cut the price of a pill from $13.50 to $1? By letting a corporation raise the price to $750 and letting the free market work its magic.

There was a recent win for religious freedom, but it seems to depend on what religion you are. But a win is a win, and hopefully others can point to it as a precedent.

Mentioned links:

Ex-Hedge Fund Manager Who Jacked Up Price of Drug by 5,000 Percent Gets Lesson in Free-Market Capitalism

Muslim Truck Drivers Who Refused To Haul Alcohol Awarded $240,000 In Religious Discrimination Suit

Obama admin helps Muslims win big religious liberty lawsuit; why not Christian bakers?

Getting some shopping done? If you're going to shop at Amazon, please consider clicking on my affiliate link. Thanks!

On Apple devices, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

If you're on Android, listen with Google Podcasts.

Stitcher Radio is another possibility for both Apple and Android devices. If you do download Stitcher to your phone, please use the promo code “ConsiderThis” to let them know where you heard about it.

Browser-based options are the Blubrry Network and Player.fm.

And if you have some other podcatcher or RSS reader, click here to get the direct feed and paste it wherever you need it.

I would love it if you would spread the word about the podcast! Click the Facebook, Twitter, and other icons (or all of them!) at the bottom of this post to recommend "Consider This!" to your social media audience.

Show transcript

If you know the name Martin Shkreli, it’s likely because news stories about his popped up on your Facebook or Twitter feed. I saw articles about him from folks who don’t usually post about current events, but what he did had many people in an uproar.

He was criticized last month after his Turing Pharmaceuticals company announced an increase in the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per capsule after buying the rights to sell the drug. Daraprim is the only approved treatment for a life-threatening parasitic infection. Many of my more liberal friends used this to “prove” that the free market has failed, and that government must step in to assure affordable medicine for all. The uproar caused Shkreli to reconsider the price hike.

I came somewhat to his defense, noting that the reason he was able to acquire the rights to the drug was because the previous company wasn’t making a profit. So instead of those needing the drug being left high and dry, someone with enough money to do so kept it from going away entirely. Clearly the previous company didn’t price it well enough to keep it around, so an increase was inevitable. But I, too, thought the price hike was rather over the top.

But in steps the free market. In a situation where one company is price gouging, the opportunity for another company to work it to their advantage is ripe. Which is exactly what happened.

A San Diego biomedical company on Thursday announced it’s selling an alternate medication to Daraprim for $1 a capsule, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Mark L. Baum, CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, told the paper that one catch is that its formula isn’t FDA-approved and may be sold only through a doctor’s prescription to a specific person. He added that the process of getting FDA approval would take years and cost millions, while not filing keeps prices low and profits higher.

Some folks seem to think that making a profit is evil in and of itself, never mind drug manufacturers doing it, but without profit, there is no money to research new medicines. And part of the cost of that research is the government. Ironically, it’s the government that some folks believe can save us from these price hikes. Sorry, when government gets involved, that’s not what happens.

So somehow, without a new law being passed or a new rule being created by the FDA, the situation rectified itself, and those needing help now have a lower-price option than even before Shkreli bought the rights.

Hillary and Bernie seem to think that government is our savior in all things, and that the free market has failed. Well, it’s not, and it hasn’t. Without government’s help, the price of medication has gone down, rightly punishing a bad decision on the part of one company. You can thank the free market for a lower price, and the choices you have. When the government screws up, you can’t just switch governments, but you can switch corporations far, far more easily.

Let’s see if this sounds familiar. An employee is hired for a job, but at some point that employee is asked to do something that is against their religious beliefs. They refuse to do it, and consequences ensue. What consequences? Well, if you’re a baker, a photographer or a pizza company that wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding, that generally means a hefty fine and sensitivity reeducation. If you’re a county clerk that won’t issue same-sex marriage license, that means jail time. If you’re truck drivers that refuse to deliver alcohol, that means … the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the EEOC – goes to bat for you and sues the trucking company for not creating a religious accommodation, and you walk away with $240,000.

What a minute, what? Yup, you heard right. OK, well then, is that progress? In one way, it certainly is, though the federal EEOC is really late to this party. Hobby Lobby, Kim Davis, and various small businesses could have really used help over the past few years, but it’s nice that the federal government is finally waking up. Can we expect this same action in the future?

Well, I guess it all depends. I would like to point out that all these victims were Christians, except the truck drivers that got federal help and the windfall. In a move that makes the feds look like their picking and choosing which religions get protection and which don’t, they were Muslims. Now, this is just one situation, but given all the other opportunities for the feds to help Christians which they passed on, it really does look like they’re playing favorites, which the Constitution forbids.

In a statement, the EEOC said, “We are proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices. It’s fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.” Apparently, as long as you’re not Christian.

Remember this during the next brouhaha about religious freedom. Watch how this administration acts. For those of you who value religious freedom, and that should be all of you, their actions should let you know what they think of the First Amendment.

I’m actually happy for those Muslim truck drivers. They should have gotten a religious exemption. And this is good news for religious freedom in general, because now anyone can point to their case as a precedent. My fear, however, is that this will go down the memory hole the next time a Christian is on the chopping block. What I’d suggest is head to the show notes at considerthis.ctpodcasting.com and save the link there so that when it comes up in your social media feed, you can point to it. I’m going to bet most people haven’t heard this from their usual news sources.

Filed under: CapitalismEconomics & TaxesReligion