The Market Will Correct This

Read this and you’ll see we don’t really need regulations or regulators:

Diana Reed tried massage and acupuncture, but neither eased her neck pain. She may have injured herself while helping her husband, Wayne, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, in and out of his wheelchair.

“Diana kind of became Wayne’s arms, legs and voice,” her brother, Bob Bergeson, said.

Mrs. Reed, 56, a healthy, vigorous woman who ran or swam every day, decided to try a series of epidural steroid injections for her neck trouble. She had been laid off from her job at a nonprofit group and wanted the treatments before her health insurance ran out.

It was a decision that ended her life. She died on Oct. 3, one of more than 130 people to have contracted meningitis in a national outbreak from a tainted drug used in spinal injections for back and neck pain. So far, 12 have died.

The drug has been recalled, but still more people are likely to become ill in the coming weeks, because the incubation period can be longer than a month. About 13,000 people injected with the drug are anxiously waiting to see if symptoms develop. The product is a steroid called methylprednisolone, which was contaminated with one or more types of fungus. It was made by a pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center, and shipped to 23 states.

The company has shut down, and Massachusetts health officials said Wednesday that they had extended their investigation to Ameridose, another drug manufacturer in the state that is partly owned by Barry Cadden, who was the chief pharmacist at New England Compounding.

Mr. Cadden surrendered his pharmacy license this week, state officials said. Massachusetts has just five inspectors for more than a thousand compounding pharmacies that make drugs.

See- we didn’t even need those five regulators, because the market has already reacted. The company that made the drugs is shut down. Voila. The free market at work. Consumers now know not to buy steroid injections from this particular pharmacy.

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62 replies
  1. 1
    Bighorn Ordovican Dolomite says:

    I had this though exaclty as I was driving into work this morning. Way back in the day (early-mid 90s), I had an econ professor who was a total Randroid–and at the time I had no idea who Ayn Rand was, so at least intitally I missed the significance. While I was intrigued about ending the war on good, high quality ganja, I do remember thinking–mand I think health and safety inspections are a good thing and we should keep that going.

    Twenty or so years later and I stand by that perception.

  2. 2
    hep kitty says:

    Does it EVER occur to those bastidges this could very well happen to them or a loved one??

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    This whole thing makes me so angry and sad. So wrong for this to happen and for these people to die.

    Our local news ran a segment on this, followed by a segment on the FDA and salmonella in food and “Why aren’t inspectors finding this?” Of course “Republicans cut funding for inspectors” never factors into the story.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Cadden should be charged with depraved indifference to human life, and spend the rest of HIS miserable life behind bars, once tried and convicted.

  5. 5
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    This kind of thing more than anything else infuriates me the most about glibertarians and Our Galtian Overlords.

    We went thru things like rotten meat for sale and the overwhelming societal requirement for *meat inspectors* something like 100 years ago and yet, here we are…it’s deja vu all over again.

    As always, the late, great Steve Gilliard’s quote applies:

    “I’m not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I’m not interested in debating them. I want to stop them.”

    Stop them. Period.

  6. 6
    mistermix says:

    You forgot one part of the ironclad argument: If she hadn’t wanted to get meningitis, she should have chosen a different brand of steroid on the open market.

  7. 7
    RosiesDad says:

    Sounds awfully similar to the 55 inspectors responsible for ensuring the safety of the 90 drilling rigs and thousands of oil well platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t it?

    And we know how well that worked out.

  8. 8
    NR says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Stop them. Period.

    Hah. As if that will ever happen with the Democrats leading the charge.

    I can’t want for the “compromise” where the Democrats agree to fire 75% of drug regulators instead of 100%. Sure, the remaining regulators will be so massively overworked that they won’t be able to do anything to stop shit like this from happening, but hey, we should all be happy because the Republicans didn’t get everything they wanted. Woo hoo! Go Democrats!

  9. 9
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @hep kitty: Do they ever think that some people might not want a pregnancy to continue, and might choose to have an abortion?

  10. 10
    penpen says:

    TPM’s front page story today about a mysterious Obama super PAC megadonor:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpoi.....ndmark.php

    He’s making his fortune in pharmaceutical compounding… I think I spot a hot new right wing meme-to-be.

  11. 11
    hep kitty says:

    @mistermix: BINGO! It’s all about choice. And, for that matter, why didn’t she come back from the dead and “retroactively fire” her doctor for prescribing the wrong drug?

  12. 12
    Matt in HB says:

    See- we didn’t even need those five regulators, because the market has already reacted. The company that made the drugs is shut down. Voila. The free market at work. Consumers now know not to buy steroid injections from this particular pharmacy.

    As absurd as it may seem, this truly is the perspective of hard core libertarian types. This expresses their insane world-view perfectly.

    It might be interesting to experiment with this sort of thing if we eliminated limited liability corporations. Make the owners own and personally pay for her death (with their money and/or lives) and see how corporate activity changes.

  13. 13
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @hep kitty:

    Does it EVER occur to those bastidges this could very well happen to them or a loved one??

    No. SATSQ.

  14. 14
    sharl says:

    Diane Rehm and her guest panelists did a show on this yesterday which sounded pretty good (at least the bits and pieces I heard). It’s available at her website.
    If you can get past her slowed and halting speech (result of spasmodic dysphonia) and the fact she’s a B-team Villager, Rehm often does a pretty good job on shows like this.*
    *where circle-the-wagons defense of her fellow Villagers isn’t involved

  15. 15
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    “The Past is not dead. It’s not even Past.”

  16. 16
    SatanicPanic says:

    Massachusetts? Huh, isn’t there some former Governor of Massachusetts running for prez right now?

  17. 17
    danimal says:

    @Violet:

    Of course “Republicans cut funding for inspectors” never factors into the story.

    We wouldn’t want to politicize this tragic situation.

  18. 18
    wrb says:

    OT but pretty fascinating & If some posted it already I missed it.

    Issa and Mitt blow CIA cover

  19. 19

    See- we didn’t even need those five regulators, because the market has already reacted. The company that made the drugs is shut down. Voila. The free market at work. Consumers now know not to buy steroid injections from this particular pharmacy.

    You joke, but I’m pretty sure at least 27% of Americans would agree with this statement as a fact. And they vote.

  20. 20
    👽 Martin says:

    @mistermix:

    If she hadn’t wanted to get meningitis, she should have chosen a different brand of steroid on the open market.

    And because all decisions are reversible with glibertarian physics, Diana Reed will simply not repeat that same mistake. See? Everything working exactly as predicted.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @sharl:

    There was also good coverage on Morning Edition/NPR today. Link is to audio; I thought a transcript might be up by now but didn’t find it quickly.

    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/m.....=162691320

  22. 22
    Hill Dweller says:

    @wrb: Issa also claimed they were going to hold hearings on the BLS job/unemployment numbers.

  23. 23
    cmorenc says:

    The market will not only correct for unsafe food and drugs, but for airplane crashes too. With a pure free market and no federal oversight of aviation, airlines will be free to choose the state with the least safety regulations and regulatory oversight to base themselves in, and consumers will be free to choose the airlines who have the lowest fatality rate. Simple!

  24. 24
    Brachiator says:

    See- we didn’t even need those five regulators, because the market has already reacted. The company that made the drugs is shut down. Voila. The free market at work. Consumers now know not to buy steroid injections from this particular pharmacy.

    The sad thing is that diehard libertarians have absolutely no problem with this. None at all.

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    @Hill Dweller: Issa: the great chicken fucker of San Diego.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @hep kitty: No.

  27. 27
    catclub says:

    @wrb: I think you did miss it yesterday. But still good.

    The other point was, just like cutting the FUNDING for inspectors, cutting the FUNDING for State department security – by substantial amounts – is leaving Darryl looking at himself and the House GOP as the villain of the piece.

  28. 28
    👽 Martin says:

    @Hill Dweller: I suppose the 339K weekly jobless claim number (lowest since 2008) is also a lie, as is Gallups poll showing a 7.4% unemployment rate.

    This conspiracy is so large, it seems no facts remain that would reveal the truth to us.

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @cmorenc: “choose the airlines who have the lowest fatality rate. Simple!”

    only allowed regulation: reporting fatality rates is libel.

  30. 30
    El Cid says:

    One of the strategies that Ronald Reagan used to destroy regulations was to slash the number and powers of inspectors and enforcement authorities.

    He couldn’t change the laws requiring poultry processing plants to be inspected, but when the industry saw the opportunity to move to explosive shit-spreading mass poultry manufacturing plants, he slashed the number of inspectors likewise.

    What a great, great man, helping ensure that our chickens would be generously covered in fecal matter whereas before we could only hope.

  31. 31
    Yutsano says:

    @catclub: Well of course. Can’t risk hurting the fee-fees of the mighty Job Creators now can we?

  32. 32
    Hill Dweller says:

    @👽 Martin: I can’t believe this election, whether it be the Senate, House or Presidential, is close. In a sane society, the current Republican party would be run out of politics and forced to reform. Instead, they’ll likely do very well in November, and we’ll continue squandering the country’s potential.

  33. 33
    Silver says:

    Well, the market did work, and an unemployed woman is dead.

    So, for your standard libertarian (white, male, asshole) that’s a win/win/win there…

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    Wow. I’m in moderation for quoting part of John Cole’s post. The Ways of the InterTube are amazing.

    Anyway, was trying to say that libertarians will hold onto their principled stand against regulation no matter what.

  35. 35
    catclub says:

    @Yutsano: Remember the beef processor that wanted to export to Japan, and so they had every steer tested for Mad Cow? They were not allowed to report their results (by the regulators!) because it was considered unfair competition to the other beef processors.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    @Silver: part of the conspiracy. It lowers uneployment rates.

  37. 37

    […] The Market Will Correct This By John Cole October 11th, 2012 […]

  38. 38
    handy says:

    @wrb:

    Good god, idiots. I especially love this little highlighted exchange:

    A State Department official assured him that the material was “entirely unclassified” and that the photo was from a commercial satellite. “I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz continued. He went on to say that “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

  39. 39
    SteveinSC says:

    @Silver: “I am amazed at the publicity for the loss of a few dead birds” Union Oil President, 1969.

    “I am amazed at the publicity for the loss of a few dead birds people” Big Pharma Exec, 2012 as time marches on.

  40. 40
    Hungry Joe says:

    Getting rid of the FDA and all state and municipal food and restaurant inspectors will also open up job opportunities: Independent, free-market inspectors will contract with restaurants and grocery stores, then sell subscriptions of their reports to consumers. Owners could bribe inspectors, of course — paying whatever the market will bear — but after enough customers get sick and die, word will get out and no one will go there anymore. See? The free market works! Who needs taxes?

  41. 41
    catclub says:

    @SteveinSC: Actually not Big Pharma. More like, Big Compound. The pharmaceutical manufacturers have much more regulation than the compounders, who have found a relatively unregulated niche.

  42. 42
    The Moar You Know says:

    Issa: the great chicken fucker of San Diego.

    @Yutsano: He’s been gerrymandered into my district now; words cannot express how I feel about that.

    OTOH, and I hate to put it this way, he’s been coasting on the fanatic, Mexican-hating goodwill of the poor white trash living out in Vista, San Marcos and Escondido. That uncouth kind of shit won’t fly in his new, far more upscale district. He could lose to the right kind of Republican.

    Sadly, this district is what it is. He won’t be losing to a Democrat anytime soon.

  43. 43
    Michael G says:

    @wrb: I’m pretty sure Issa’s now an enemy of the state and as such, the CIA has the authority to launch a drone strike against his house.

  44. 44
    red dog says:

    How would a patient know which drug manufacturer a doctor had selected when you are assured that drug xyz is the best. Have you ever asked a doctor who compounds a drug? He/she probably doesn’t know either as the brand is all he considers.

  45. 45
    catclub says:

    @red dog: “He/she probably doesn’t know either as the brand is all he considers.”

    Ha ha. Either the doc has no idea what brand – that is a job for he pharmacy. Or he owns an interest in a particular compounder, and has not told you that. Texas style medicine.

  46. 46
    quannlace says:

    This kind of story terrifies me. My mother had visited a pain clinic to see if there were any other treatments beyond pills. Unfortunately, since she’s on Coumadin, they couldn’t do any kind of invasive treatments such as injections, because they’d have to take her off the drug for a few days and they couldn’t risk that.
    Damn, I’d glad they wouldn’t

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The tort system is a market based approach to correcting errors in the market.

    Rethugs and Glibertarians want to “reform” it out of existence.

  48. 48
    trollhattan says:

    Heard this a.m. that the Supreme Court overruled federal regulation of formularies, saying it’s a state-level matter.

    Where have I heard that before?

    And in this case, one of the managers of the formulary that made this tainted batch sits on the state regulatory board.

    As it should be, in Galt’s Gulch.

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    @Michael G:
    Given Issa’s status as one of the richest members of congress, one is forced to ask, “Which house?”

  50. 50
    R. Porrofatto says:

    If it were up to libertarians, or maybe even Matt Yglesias, Barry Cadden wouldn’t have needed a license in the first place.

    Economics lessons for Randians: Grandpa dies from an e-coli hamburger, wife Mary Lou dies from tainted injections, Sis gets kidney failure from her toothpaste, Junior burns up in his not-so-fire-retardant car seat, but what the hell, Mr. Libertarian learns where not to shop!

  51. 51
    evinfuilt says:

    @NR:
    Those overworked regulators are proof enough that regulations don’t work. So sayeth the wise Randbot. Free market regulators would only inspect the company that pays them to say it’s inspected.

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    The death toll went up from this.
    What a tragedy.
    Are the House Republicans still blocking the stronger FDA law?
    Didn’t the FDA take away approval of a compounded drug and the regular drug cost a lot more, but was considered safe and effective?

  53. 53
    Bex says:

    @hep kitty: Not until it happens to them or one of their loved ones. I’ll never forget Mort Kondrake, whose first wife died of Parkinson’s, coming out in favor of stem cell research and being roundly dissed by his Faux compatriots.

  54. 54
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    @SteveinSC: Well, that didn’t take long. No tragedy is too large or too small to exploit, is it?

  55. 55
    elmo says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I grew up in Santee. Feel free to put it as harshly as you like, you’re telling nothing but truth.

  56. 56
    evodevo says:

    @hep kitty: If it does, they are the first to sue – tort reform be damned. After all, it’s THEIR relative, loved one, etc., not one of those greedy fraudsters who have driven up health care costs !! Same hypocrisy involved in abortion, too. It’s conservative narcissistic disease, or CND – new to the diagnostic manual.

  57. 57
    McJulie says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You got it. In debates, libertarians always resort to claiming that you don’t need health or environmental regulations because you can just sue people who harm you. Never mind that you won’t get much out of that if you’re dead or permanently injured — they also, in a different context, are completely against people getting sued for harming you.

    As far as I can tell, the only way to really thrive in a pure libertarian system is to have precognition. And superpowers.

  58. 58
    Cris (without an H) says:

    See, it’s like Romney said. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance. We have people who die so the market can correct itself.

  59. 59
    muddy says:

    I was just at lunch with a young relative who works in South Africa. We were discussing health care. Apparently there is very good private care there that is extremely expensive for those who pony up the cash, and then that’s about the end of it.

    Also you have to give small amounts of money to urchins when you park your car or it will be disassembled when you come out. The future of America under Republicans – the new South Africa. If we’re lucky.

  60. 60
    Mike R says:

    @McJulie: Most Libertarians that I know seem to think they are at the very least supermen.

  61. 61

    @The Moar You Know: Won’t there be further redistricting that will prevent Douchebag Darrell from representing a district that spans multiple counties?

  62. 62
    danielx says:

    @trollhattan:

    Well, yes.

    “Conflict of interest? There’s no conflict of interest, I know a lot about that business.”

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