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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press People With Aids Unable to Afford Drugs: The Cost of Protectionism

People With Aids Unable to Afford Drugs: The Cost of Protectionism

Thursday, 01 July 2010 04:19

The NYT had an article reporting that a number of states are restricting enrollment in a program that provides drugs for people with AIDS. It notes that the program cost governments an average of $12,000 a year. It would have been mentioning that in the absence of patent protection these drugs would sell for a few hundred dollars per year.

Patent protection for drugs is an extremely costly form of protectionism causing many drugs to be sold at several thousand percent above their free market price. There are almost certainly more efficient mechanisms for supporting prescription drug research. While the Washington Post recently devoted a lead front page article to tariffs on ironing boards, no major news outlet has been interested in discussing the much greater distortions resulting from protection for prescription drugs.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, July 01, 2010 7:35
Leave it to a stupid liberal like Baker to put a price on life. Anyone with common sense knows that removal of patent protection for life saving drugs is the same as cancellation of the F-22 Raptor program which also saved lives for dollars on the penny.
economists aint no doctors
written by frankenduf, July 01, 2010 8:10
not only that, but this is a public health hazard too- not so long ago, circa 10 years, it appeared that TB was close to being essentially eradicated- but it has made a comeback, largely due to areas of untreated HIV, markedly in the third world- now, as us urban zones are getting third world treatment in the recession, TB is making a comeback here as well- such a shame for a wealthy country not to proudly eradicate a disease from it's public sphere

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.