Blame interventionism, not capitalism

There is much discussion on Slashdot about a new cancer drug that may never get on the market because it’s not eligible for a patent. Because getting a drug past the FDA costs up to a billion dollars, no drug company is willing to put up the costs when it can’t secure a monopoly. Most readers blamed capitalism for this. My response:

The problem is that drug approval costs so much. The major drug companies are happy with this – a billion dollars is too much for any innovative new startups to get to market. This is not the fault of capitalism, but the opposite – of government interventionism. In a free market, competing private organizations would decide when products are safe, and consumers would be free to choose what risks to take.

By contrast, the FDA creates giant monopolies that exclude competition by lobbying the government for more regulations and “safety controls” to raise barriers to entry, while millions of people die because innovative new medicines and treatments never had a chance.

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