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CHILDREN

This is, again, a difficult topic to address. In the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system, children have no rights until they self-emancipate. However, in the meantime, anything and everything that damages them psychologically or physically is the responsibility of their parents or guardians. If damage occurs it is real and children can fully demand compensation upon emancipation. This damage and compensation is not formal and theoretical, it is exactly the same as any other property damage entitled to the very same compensations.

This fact is a fantastic motivator to keep children away from drugs, since a drugging child will became a gigantic liability upon emancipation. And so, again, we reach the conclusion that self-interest is a far more effective way to deal with problems than laws, rules and regulations.

LEVELS

We also observe that all these drug are used in different amounts. Legally or morally speaking they may be “using” or “abusing” but the result is the same. They either harm or don’t harm peoples’ properties. The logical conclusion is that there is no “abuse” level. It all depends on every person and we are all different.

The legal concept of use versus abuse is ridiculous and arbitrary as with most laws. Biologically speaking, each one of us is different and therefore different doses will affect us differently. Actually, there is an entire scientific branch dedicated to dosing: Pharmacy.

Actions or inaction against drugged people are meaningless if based on drug levels. The question is not whether the level was high or not, the question is whether this person infringed on other people’s property rights. If there is no infringement, then they cannot be compensation since compensation without cause makes no sense.

The primary goal of compensation is to return things to their original state (as best as possible) as they were before the damage. If there is no damage, things stay in their original state and speaking of compensation is illogical.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEGAL DRUG MANUFACTURERS

In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system it does not matter who manufactures drugs and in what conditions. This seems rather harsh and naïve, but it is not.

We must remember that personal freedom is at the topmost importance in every Libertarian system. This is precisely why we have absolute freedom to contract for everything, however ludicrous it may seem.

The problem

Drug manufacturers, particularly the ones producing them for medicinal uses, have been subjected to a large number of lawsuits and claims. Almost all of those claims have been based on the notion that companies hid negative information from the consumer. The exact format of that information is irrelevant (e.g. clinical trials, side effects, downplay, etc.), what is relevant is the duplicity that the legal system allows.

According to regulations applicable in most countries, a Pharmaceutical Company (Pharma) is to submit a dossier with required information for consideration to a regulator. This organization reviews the information and if deemed appropriate, licenses the medication for sale. The inherent logic of this process is to have an independent body with the required know-how, reviewing the technical information for safety and efficacy. In this manner, we are told, the public is protected.

Reality is quite different. Pharma depends on licencing; therefore they only supply the minimum legal requirement to achieve it. Regulatory agencies make decisions based on political pressure and incomplete records. Patients take medications also based on incomplete information.

The net result is that if a patient is affected by a side-effect not listed in the prospectus of the medication (or sometimes not disclosed to the government), then they sue the company. The logic being that the company somehow “hid” information for their own benefit.

Pharma companies are trapped between a rock and a hard place. On one hand they cannot reveal everything they know because if they would do so, their products won’t be licensed. In this case they would have no profits, but more importantly, patients in need would have no medication.

However, licensing does not provide unlimited liability limitations. This means that any and all information that was not submitted to the government (because it was not a legal requirement) can be used in a lawsuit. When patients are affected by this lack of information, patients suffer.

Therefore, Pharma companies are doomed if they do and doomed if they don’t. Most people do not understand medication. They believe that medications are absolutely safe and absolutely effective. This is, they believe medications have zero risk. This is, of course, a myth conveniently propagated by regulators to justify their jobs i.e. “we only let safe and effective medications through”.

Let us be clear: there are no safe and effective medications, at least not in absolute terms.

All medications are unsafe and ineffective to a degree. It is this degree that is the origin of all problems. Pharma companies are forced to hide it, patients suffer the consequences and governments pledge ignorance. Must be nice to have all the power and none of the responsibilities.

The solution

In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system Pharma companies would behave differently. Instead of having a single behaviour (as described above) there will be a multitude of policies and attitudes.

Consider this. Pharma companies are extremely dependent on sales. In a Libertarian system they would have no patents, which means that anybody can clone their drug. How would they then increase or maintain sales? Through good reputation. Pharma companies cannot compete in price with Generics, but they can do through reputation. How do they achieve this? By disclosing all available information. They would have nothing to fear since there would not be any regulatory agency deciding the fate of their medications.

Also, we fully expect that patients wishing to buy their medication would be asked to sign an absolute liability waiver, this is, companies would not be held responsible for any damage whatsoever the medication may produce.

This would seem unfair, but it is not. It is a trade. Every patient and every doctor will now how full access to all scientific information available for a medication. They will be able to make better and more informed decisions and will be able to prevent many side effects. Compare this with today’s process where patients and doctors are force to operate half-blind and if anything happens, chances are excellent the Pharma company won’t be sued.

Generics, on the other hand, can’t compete on quality or brand name, but they can compete on price. They will also make all their information available to demonstrate that their drug formulation is as good the brand name. They would have nothing to hide.

This is again, a win-win scenario. Patients get all the information, Pharma companies keep higher profits to fund better R&D and Generics manufacture inexpensive products for those who can’t afford brand name pricing.

Progress

Furthermore, since there is no impediment to publish any data and there is a huge incentive to sell, R&D-based Pharma companies will release medication which would not be approved today. These companies develop a myriad of medications every year and only a handful few make it to the market place. This is so because the vast majority of them are not as safe and as effective as governments want.

However, governments do not owe your body, you do. It is your right to determine which medication you will take and how much risk you will accept. Right now governments are denying you this right.

Consider this. If you have a known and common illness for which are known medication, new medications won’t help you that much. However, if you have a life threatening condition for which there are precious few or no medications at all, you may want to take a chance. After all, it is the only chance you may get… but the government says no. It is not “safe and effective”. It is not their live at stake either!

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

Continue to Drugs for everybody - Part 3

 

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