Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst you can drink!
I assume we’re all familiar with the concept of fake shortages. They are always paired with arbitrary price hikes. In a capitalist wonderland such as ours, there’s very little constraining the capitalist from charging whatever he, she, it, or they want.
“Whatever the market will bear.” That is, the highest price one can charge and still move product: that is the only price limit. That is the limit on the capitalist’s avarice. And if the poor people in the market can’t bear it, too bad for them. That’s why Martin Shkreli decided he could raise the price of an AIDS-related pneumonia drug about 650%. He figured insurance companies can’t deny their policy holders the drug. If you need a medicine, you need it. The sufferers who have bad insurance policies or otherwise can’t afford it, well, they’ll find the money or lose a lung. And what skin is it off Skhreli’s entitled behind if a few luckless losers die? He wanted that delicious money. Savory money, hot off the grill, dripping with loser blood.
Shkreli’s special expertise, besides driving stock prices down by pounding them with a barrage of negative rumors in order to collect on short sales, was buying the rights to sell certain drugs whose patents had lapsed, for which there was not yet a generic version being sold, and jack up the price astronomically. He had various methods to choke a competing drug’s distribution, quash generic alternatives, obtain regulations targeted to make his inflated option the only option.
Imagine if your job was to get up every morning and find a way to drive up health care costs for your own benefit, without a thought to whose lives would be destroyed. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s a perfectly valid career choice under our system. Shkreli’s in jail now, but not for pharmaceutical extortion. See, he also enjoyed committing securities fraud. But don’t worry, he’s expected to be released this coming November, even though he was caught with a contraband cell phone with which he was still running his company from prison. You’re not supposed to do that, but we won’t increase your sentence, just take your phone away and make you promise
never to do it again. No punishment. Same as if you’re caught running your business from the Oval... read more