A while back, I listened to an NPR story about black market drugs. These were normal drugs like Viagra and pimple medication. Because patents and copyrights create a framework for overpriced medicine, black markets in generic knockoffs are thriving.
The heart of the story:
In the course of Savage’s research, he and his team placed over 800 test orders and typically received their chosen medications in a timely fashion.
“We’ve maybe only had one time where we didn’t get anything,” said Savage. They tested some of the drugs they received, and all had the proper amount of the active ingredient.
Savage says the vast majority of customers are ordering erectile dysfunction drugs. Others order painkillers or stimulants for recreational use. But up to 15 percent of orders come from people seeking medications to treat chronic health conditions, likely because they can’t afford to purchase them through legal avenues.
Not only do black market vendors deliver the medicine that is advertised, but they do so at a fraction of the cost of regulated medicine. The black market price has to account for the risk of the spam advertisers, the third party vendors, and any other risks of governmental infringement. What this means is that although the black market prices are currently dirt cheap, prices would plummet even more without government to create a monopoly.
What this also tells us is that those who believe the government regulations are the only thing that saves us from dying of poison by unregulated drugs are out of touch with reality.
NPR hosts the audio and text here.