Prescription Drugs and Politics
"A tourist in New York’s Greenwich Village had his portrait
sketched by a sidewalk artist, who charged him $100.
'That’s expensive,' the tourist said. 'But it’s a great sketch,
so I’ll pay it. But, really, it took you only five minutes.'
'Twenty years and five minutes,' the artist replied.
The same misconception of costs runs through the much
more serious issue of the prices of medicine and government
regulation of those prices. When a pill whose ingredients cost
a quarter is sold for two dollars, that is an open invitation to
demagogues to begin loudly denouncing the pharmaceutical
drug company’s “obscene” and “unconscionable” profits at
the expense of the sick. But the people who are doing this are
counting only the five minutes and ignoring the twenty years."
Re: Prescription Drugs and Politics
This same vision extends to medical facilities when they administer, say, an aspirin to patients. Sure, the aspirin may only cost a couple of cents, but the administrative costs to track every person who touched the aspirin from arrival, to prescription, to delivery to follow up and the accrued liability should something happen at any of those stages far outweighs (in general) the cost of the aspirin.
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