The Balance of Profit and Regulation

Two weeks ago, we went over the concept of profiting from health. The prime example that we went over was the price increase of deraprim from $13.50 to $750. This obvious price gouging of medicine is something that shows the loopholes in trades as well as the need for a more balanced regulation on pharmaceutical companies. We live in a free market country and that is part of core values of America. Yet this concept has led to corruption within the system. Whether it be this obvious price gouging or so called “donations” to political members of Congress and the House, profiting from health is something that is an incredibly touchy and manipulative subject. There are clearly signs of a structural and agency imbalance.

We look at “ceutical” products like Viagra, vitamin water, and anti-aging cream and do not question their effectiveness despite that there is no proven study that these types of medicine can benefit the overall health of a human. But because these products are very well advertised and well framed, we don’t notice anything. It is an obligation to both the companies of these types of products as well as the government to make regulation on specifically how a product would benefit a persons health. Of course the problem with that is that if the general public knew that the products that they were using were useless, there would obviously be repercussions to the overall economy.

Looking at pharmaceutical drugs, there is no lying about what it does and doesn’t do. If you want to know the side effects, you will know. In this instance pharmaceutical drugs are much better then ceutical products. Looking at the negatives is more complicated. Compared to most countries around the world, the United States is one  of a few that does not set price regulations on specific drugs and is one of two countries that promote pharmaceutical drugs in advertisements. This isn’t really a problem except for the fact that regular citizens require these drugs for health stability. When looking at the deraprim again, the same version of this drug has been made by different companies for just 1 dollar. Is it the fault of the company or the fault of the government who refuses to reduce the monopoly that patents may have? At the moment, it seems that the government is doing the opposite and attempting to increase the amount of time a company can have a monopoly on a patent. Recently, President Obama and the rest of the senate are trying to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership which among other things would allow a company to hold a monopoly of a drug for 12 years instead of 5. What can be done? At this point, only a change in the system would do us any good as when looking at top donors for political campaigners, pharmaceutical companies are among the list in donations.

Usamah Ali




2 thoughts on “The Balance of Profit and Regulation

  1. I wonder how different the economy would be if the products that were marketed were actually tested and investigated. Then, the products that so many people buy would actually work. Would this increase the economic gain overall? Would the companies, then, charge more for this because they have gone through the testing process and they know it works? Since when have we been able to look at advertisements and trust them without any background knowledge of their ingredients or the way they were processed?

    That is very interesting that the patent on drugs is trying to be changed. I wonder why this is happening? Is the information that is being presented to Obama being skewed and he doesn’t know what is happening with drugs like deraprim? Your post brought up some very interesting questions that I had and I wonder if you have any views on the questions I asked.

    Annelise Wilimitis


  2. The influence of money in our government and healthcare system are extremely scary. It seems like the average person can’t rely on anyone to actually have their best interest at heart when it comes to health and medicine. No matter the product or procedure, it seems that there is always somebody that will profit heavily, regardless of whether or not the patient sees an improvement in health. If we can’t trust the government or pharmaceutical companies to be honest with us, then who can we trust? Where can we get objective information? These are concerns that no person should have but unfortunately it has become a reality. I believe that it is the responsibility of the government to regulate these treatments and their prices but as you said, as long as the means of production are controlled by for-profit companies, we must remain suspicious of what these companies truly value, our health or their money. Sadly it seems to be the latter, and I agree that a complete overhaul of the system is necessary if we want to see positive change.


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