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Children Suffering CancerThe BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is an anachronism; it is a leftover from older times when everything had to be done by governments. However, it must be clearly recognized that many of its documentary programs are first rate and second to none. One such program it's called the Unreported World and was broadcasted through Channel4 - BBC. A few days back its episode was called "Africa's Drugs Scandal" and it depicts the tragic situation in Senegal because of lack of drugs. The problem as you may have come to expect is not a drug abuse issue but on the contrary the lack of a common and cheap drug that is vital for cancer patients. We are talking about morphine.

Senegal is experiencing a chronic shortage of morphine. The documentary makes the point (a very disheartening point) by showing the amount of suffering that this shortage is producing in a children's hospital. Children as young as four have to suffer through horrible pains just because this drug is in short supply. The documentary clearly shows that this is not an issue triggered by lack of money but purposeful government action. The reporter interviews several people, among them government officials who prevent the necessary amounts of this drug to enter the country. Their excuse is that they don't have enough information, to understand the levels that are required and also that laws and regulations are so strict that every single flask must be accounted for.

This leaves the doctors in a desperate situation. Although they are requesting the drug all the time they're not getting supplies. This is such a common event that many doctors have stopped prescribing the drug altogether. Their main assumption is that the drug won't be available even if they prescribe it.

This is a classic example of how governments decrease your standards of living. Should there be no government in Senegal the free market would have produced more than enough supply of this critical drug. It is to be noted that morphine it's not an expensive drug because it comes from poppies which could be grown locally in Senegal. Processing puppies into morphine is not an expensive process either.

Yet the government of Senegal is creating a large amount of pain and suffering through an artificial monopoly. Politicians and bureaucrats get to determine the amount of suffering that cancer patients will have to endure; even for terminal ones. Does this seem something fair to you? That faceless bureaucrats get to decide what kind of life you would have as a cancer patient, if any? We think not.

If you are consoling yourself believing that Africa is far, far away think again. These very same type of politicians and bureaucrats control the health systems in your country. They decide what you can have what you cannot have. Nobody on earth is immune from these people. They are affecting your life in many ways in which you are not even aware of. And what is the justification that these people have to make your life more miserable? The standard reply is scarcity. There are only so many doctors and nurses and there is only so much budget to go around. Somebody must decide who gets what and when. However, the tragedy of its all is that this is unnecessary. Modern healthcare is constantly rising in price because of the actions of governments. In a free market all goods and services tend to decrease in price therefore making health care evermore available as opposed to more scarce.

And there you have it. An artificial tragedy prompted by an artificial monopoly produced by people with artificial authority. You must now ask yourself if this is how you want to live. It is up to you, entirely up to you and nobody else. You have the power to make a choice. It is your power and nobody else's. Use it wisely or face the consequences.

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

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