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The just price, exploitation, and prescription drugs: why free marketeers should object to profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry

Mark R. Reiff

Review of Social Economy, 2019, vol. 77, issue 2, 108-142

Abstract: Many people have been enraged lately by the enormous increases in certain generic prescription drugs. But free marketeers defend these prices by arguing that they simply represent what the market will bear, and in a capitalist society there is accordingly nothing wrong with charging them. This paper argues that such a defense is actually contrary to the very principles that free marketeers claim to embrace. These prices are not only unjust and exploitative, but government interference with them would not render the market less free, at least if what it means for a market to be “free” is properly understood. Everyone, even free marketeers with a libertarian or neoliberal bent, should accordingly be against this kind of profiteering.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2018.1551561

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