BP 7: Drug Coupons: The Few vs. the Many

As we are all aware now several pharmaceutical companies have been in the hot seat over the past year with their crazy spike in prices for necessary drugs, such as EpiPens. To try to recover from the backlash and lack of profits, they have introduced drug coupons in order to “help” consumers purchase the drugs they need for a reduced cost over the counter. This causes the big brand names to become more popular to the consumer as compared to the generic brand alternative to these drugs which have the same health benefits in every way. Insurance companies encourage their clients to purchase the generic brand versions of drugs because they are much cheaper. Now that these coupons are becoming more popular, research has shown that consumers are choosing the big brands instead, and to compensate the increase in money that the insurance companies have to pay on these drugs, they in turn have to increase the premiums on all people’s insurance plans, not just those who purchase these drugs.

Right away after reading this article it made me think of the idea of Utilitarianism and of the idea “the greatest good for the greatest number”. Sure, these coupons can help the people with specific illnesses that require the drugs being offered with these coupons, but in turn every one else has to pay more on insurance premiums. Now granted, I’m not saying that these people should not be able to get the drugs that they require, but there are alternatives. For instance, the generic brands of drugs are legally required to do the same amount of benefits as the big brand names, and are much cheaper,. Thus these patients would get the drugs they need for a relatively affordable price while premiums for all people do not go up. This would be the optimific action, of the action that has the greatest balance of good to bad consequences. Thus, these drug companies are essentially tricking their consumers into buying their product because it appears to be the best action but in turn they are actually hurting the community as a whole, their selves included.

Source:

Mill/Utilitarianism from class

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