Indeed, I don\’t like the effects of this all that much either: but I\’ll still note that markets will out.
More than 50 drugs are now in short supply because doses which were intended for NHS patients are being sold to speculators who sell them in Europe for a profit.
Experts blame rogue pharmacists and drugs wholesalers who are selling the drugs intended for the NHS to traders who sell them in Europe where the drugs are more expensive.
Women being treated for breast cancer have been forced to trek across the country in search of the drugs Femara and Armidex.
Stocks of 56 drugs, including treatments for cancer, Parkinson\’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and epilepsy have now run low.
Others have been put on inferior treatments because the pills they had been prescribed cannot be found in time.
Part of this is the recent decline in the value of the pound, allied with the Single Market. Part of it is the way in which the NHS uses its bargaining power as a very large consumer to negotiate down prices.
But note that it\’s not \”Big Pharma\” making all this happen: it\’s the small guys in the distribution chain doing it.
But also note that whether you like it or not it\’s inevitable that such things will happen. When you have price differences for the same (or substituitable) goods then arbitrage will occur.
That is \”will\” occur.
Which leads to the lesson to be learned. While you can indeed attempt to set prices, you cannot do so successfully. Either you set prices so that they\’re around and about what they would be anyway in which case nothing much happens or you get them wrong and people will buy and sell them at what is the market price given whatever restrictions you have placed on the trade.
Heroin is illegal, meaning that the legal price is effectively infinite: yet it\’s openly available at less than infinite prices. The same is true of prescription drugs: set the price too low and they will be traded abroad. And as the article points out, a few years back, with a strong pound, the trade ran the other way: Brits got drugs from Spain.