The Flu Vaccine Crisis
Russell Roberts at Café Hayek found an AP story with a possible explanation for the flu vaccine crisis:
The heart of the problem, experts say, may be that no one person or agency is truly in charge of making sure that the United States has an adequate vaccine supply.So: if there's a problem anywhere in the mechanisms of the United States, it is because the government has not set up proper supervision. Right? Wrong?
With the guys at the Café, the problem is that there is no proper incentive for those in the private sector to do it themselves. Let someone make a few bucks from the process, and everyone would have their vaccine. Plus it would doubtlessly be less expensive.
A lot of people have been criticized for speaking as if government is the enemy, but it's often difficult not to do so.
I would like to have my flu vaccine.
The AP is just amazing ...
According to experts, the shortage of flu vaccine is the direct result of three factors:
1.) Trial lawyers and product liability exposures.
2.) Government price caps (the government usually buys 60% of the vaccine at Medicare rates).
3.) Flucuating demand (in some years, less than half the production is sold).
If I accepted the fantasy of government supervision being the solution to the vaccine shortage, my first priority would be to put them in charge of gasoline and chocolate. They're used by a lot more people and subject to the same market and social influences.
Here's the story on the flu: Several years ago several pharmaceutical companies supplies flu vacine in the US. Then a guy who had a shot got a serious case of the flu and sued. He won big time and because flu shots are a low profit item, most of the companies quit makeing vacine. In fact in a matter of a couple years all of them quit. The lawyer handling the case for the plaintiff who won was John Edwards. How do you know where all the US flu shots went. Look it up, it fact.