Friday, October 19, 2007

Illegal Drugs and Pharmaceutical Substitutes

There is a rather interesting series about "tolerated lawbreaking" that plays as large a role in defining our legal system as legislation and judicial decisions. The second part points out our drug laws: while things like opium, cocaine, and such are illegal, there is for just about any illegal drug a pharmaceutical substitute, which is a way America is kind of "getting around" the drug laws without confronting them directly.

I wonder if it has occurred to the author that, in this manner, drug laws benefit the pharmaceutical industry very directly, by increasing the cost of acquiring what would otherwise be very cheap pharmaceuticals such that patented (and therefore monopoly) medicines can compete in the marketplace. I wonder if he can connect the current difficulty of overturning drug laws with the fact that the the pharmaceutical industry, including Du Pont Chemical in particular, has been financing drug prohibition lobbying efforts from the beginning?

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