The Tyranny of Prescription Laws

Most people accept prescription laws as necessary for the “good of society”.  The idea being that people are not competent enough to make decisions regarding their health without the assistance of a government licensed doctor of medicine.  However, interestingly enough, prior to 1938, you could purchase medicine without a prescription (with the exception of some narcotics).  If you needed assistance in making your decision as to what to buy, usually the druggist there at your local drug store could provide guidance or even mix up something for you.  (this is where the symbol of the mortar and pestle came from that you see in drugstores).  However when people did this instead of seeing a doctor, the doctors didn’t earn the money they felt they were entitled to.  The medical profession was very much aware of the fact that even when people did visit a doctor to seek his advice, after the doctor had prescribed, the people would simply use the knowledge they had gained to decide for themselves what medicine they needed to buy.  As this was during the Great Depression, the doctors were definitely “hurting” for lack of patients.  Especially as for people with chronic conditions, the doctor got paid “once” for his advice and prescription, but after that the patients often simply continued taking the medication without seeing the doctor again.  So the doctors got together, got their professional organization, the American Medical Association (think labor union like the UAW is for auto workers) to lobby Congress upon the basis that people were endangering their health (actually the health of the doctors’ wallets) by buying medicine without a doctor’s prescription.  And after sufficient amounts of money passed from AMA lobbyists to political election campaign funds, Congress passed the law the AMA wanted and President Roosevelt signed it into law.  Of course the doctors were really happy over this because their patients could no longer purchase medicine on their own, but had to first get a doctor’s prescription (requiring the payment of an office fee) to go to their local drugstore to buy the exact same medicine they’d been buying before the law was passed.  For all practical purposes the doctors had created a government enforced monopoly over the supply of medicine with doctors serving as “gatekeepers”.  So now every time someone needed medicine, they had to pay a doctor for the privilege of buying medicine.  This is really “what” prescription laws amount to, although you won’t find a doctor who will agree with this (with the possible exception of Dr. Ron Paul), but this is the actual reality behind today’s prescription laws.

Consider this fact.  When you get a prescription from your doctor, you will notice that even if the prescription is for a drug to treat a chronic condition, that the prescription is not “lifetime”, but is limited to no more than a year.  And if you want the doctor to renew this prescription, you have to visit him or her again and pay their office fee for a renewal of the prescription.  Also, the doctor may require you to have lab tests made (often because of a “deal” the doctor has with the lab) which will cost you additional money. This is of course a great deal for the doctor, for the lab, for the people who work there, but all of this is nothing more than “theft” as Libertarians such as myself see it!  For example, the “animal doctor” who takes care of your cat or dog also enjoys the same monopoly over the supply of medicine as human doctors do.  So if you want heart worm pills for your dog or cat, you have to pay them the cost of an office visit, lab tests, etc., all to be “allowed” to purchase medicine for your dog or cat!  A great deal for them, but again “theft” from you for an unneeded service!

So how much money is being taken from you by these government licenses professional thieves?  Consider this:  If you wished to take control of your blood pressure and cholesterol, it would cost you $80 a year using Walmart’s “90 days for $10” generics.  That’s a pretty “reasonable” cost, one that even poor people would be able to afford.  However, thanks to prescription laws, the government stands between you and the medicine you need.  You have to go to a doctor, pay his office fee, get blood tests, all of which will cost you (assuming you’re uninsured) about $200.  Then you get to go to Walmart and buy the medicine.  Most likely going by my own experience, the doctor will want to see you every six months and have you get lab tests.  So you can figure on maybe $400 a year just so you can buy $80 worth of medicine!  Actually the medical profession is one of the most crooked there is.  It was estimated by Medicare that “Medical Fraud” steals $60 BILLION dollars a year from Medicare!  Other estimates for both Medicare and Medicaid estimate the total loss through medical fraud at $100 BILLION dollars a year!  This is just actual criminal actions taken by the medical profession!  Things that the government can prosecute for medical fraud from Medicare and Medicaid.  Naturally the private insurance industry also gets defrauded despite the best efforts of the industry to prevent it.  It’s not as bad as Medicare and Medicaid, but it still runs into the tens of billions of dollars a year…  Something to think about when you have to get your prescriptions renewed…  You are definitely being “ripped off” by the medical profession in every which way they can do it!  And it all works back to those prescription laws that create a “master/slave” relationship between your doctor and you!  So when the observation is made that the US has the world’s most expensive health care, you may now understand “why”.  The same “mindset” operates all the way through the health care profession.  The hospitals “rip you off”, the drug companies “rip you off”.  And all because the US health care industry spends just about half a billion dollars a year on “lobbying Congress”.  (they have state lobbyists too)  Doing the math here, it looks like the industry spends about $1,000,000 per Congress person per year.  That is a LOT OF MONEY!  Obviously if we could get those prescription laws repealed it would put a very big “dent” in the power of the medical profession to extract wealth from the American people.  The only trouble is that neither major political party has the least interest in repealing these laws, no doubt because the health care industry also pours a lot of money into political campaigns.  What hurts is that all this money comes from you and me, is taken from us at the point of the “guns of government” (a phrase created by the Libertarian writer Dr. Mary J. Ruwart whose book, “Healing Our World, The Other Piece Of The Puzzle” is well worth searching out on Amazon or from your local public library.  It is perhaps the best book on Libertarianism I’ve ever read, and well worth your time and money.

Jerome Bigge

Muskegon Libertarian


About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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