Business Insider gloated with schadenfreude: Competitors bursting on the scene brought down the price? Once again, unimpeded price discovery cures what are perceived to be unfair and excessive prices. Alex Honnold climbed the 3,000-foot of sheer cliff face of Yosemite’s El Capitan without any ropes or other climbing gear (free climbing). Tom Brady engineered a miraculous comeback from a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.Alas, with this kind of arbitrage, the pharmaceutical industry could become not-for-profit, possibly even nationalized. Amazingly, the Patriots won it with fewer scores than the Falcons—7 versus 8—at the end of the regular play, which according to democratic football fans, means that the Patriots stole the Super Bowl.Mylan offers the most instructive example (Figure 45b).It cranked up the price of Epi Pens while the share price shows a 1 percent annualized gain over 15 years. I have little time now to watch sports, but there were some truly stupendous performances that caught even my inattentive gaze.The unseemly profits are difficult to find: a zero percent annualized capital gain over 17 years suggests that they are either hiding all this cash in secret accounts in the Caymans or that pharmaceutical research is living another 50 years? (Figure 45a) Critics of the price haven’t wrapped their brains around the cost of development and production.Novartis is not printing money either, returning capital gains (ex-dividends) of 3 percent annualized to investors over the last 20 years. (a) Novartis’s 3 percent annualized returns boosted by $475,000 cancer treatment, and (b) Mylan’s 1 percent annualized gains owing to soaring Epi Pen prices.Of course the big story was Harvey and his friends.
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Price gouging laws inhibit the natural flow of goods and services.What do we do about the poor in Houston or Puerto Rico? If the rest of us are prepared, however, FEMA can focus on them. What a curious concept: high prices generate supply. The price of bottled water seemed to soar at Best Buy before one of the hurricanes (Figure 41). Maybe the woman behind her wouldn’t be forced to say, “Hey bitch. The free marketeers have a simpler solution: Let prices move freely, and a few hurricanes with spiking prices would reinforce the merits of planning. And since you forgot to ask, who are these price gougers?I bet $4 per bottle might help quench that seemingly insatiable thirst of our intrepid hoarder. Local businesses would be committing professional suicide if they price gouged their neighbors. In short, price gouging laws impede the arrival of needed goods and services.Of more dire long-term concern, pharmaceutical companies appear to be losing the war against bacteria.
Vancomycin was so important as the last line of defense that it was kept under lock and key.
Some will not see the merits of my case and be offended. Mother Nature took a whack at the world’s health through the biosphere.