Public Citizen reports as follows: “A Wall Street hedge fund multi-millionaire named Martin Shkreli—who has bragged about spending $9,000 on a single bottle of wine…bought the rights to a medicine called Daraprim.” He immediately raised the price from $13.50 to $750per pill!

It will take no rocket scientist or PhD in statistics to tell us that many people who need this drug to live were handed a death sentence by this poster child of insatiable greed, unhinged from the slightest notion of ethics or responsible citizenry. Skyrocketing the price of life-saving medicine without even a modicum of concern for those in need is more characteristic of a sociopath than of a responsible businessman. Of course, public outcry caused him to back down, but to a price that has yet to be published.

But — it is time to question why this jerk, who invented nothing and has no apparent credentials that commend him to our health care system, has the power to buy a long standing, and relatively inexpensive, drug and then jack up the price to his evil heart’s content.While the rest of the civilized world has moved to a system of universal health care, thereby spreading the cost over an entire society in recognition of health care as a basic human right, we, depressingly, produce a system that exalts profit over human life and health.

Health care is not suited for a profit industry in its best capitalist mode.It has a captive base that has no choice but to purchase its products and services, and there is almost no opportunity for comparative shopping except for an insurance company/middleman that provides no health care, but takes a layer of profit out of the system, thus helping to keep costs high.

While one might be able to do a limited amount of shopping for an insurance company, no one “shops” for a disease. You get what you get, and have to be treated for it. Often the only choice is treatment or death. It defies logic to claim fealty to the preservation of human life and at the same time extol a commitment to greed in the health care industry that condones ill-health and death for lack of funds needed to survive.

In a way, I want to thank Martin Greedisgood for allowing the issues surrounding the delivery of health care in the United States to be seen in such stark terms. Without the outrage he has spawned, the pharmaceutical industry and health care in general, could continue to bleed the public with far less noise surrounding their greedy conduct.

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Public Citizen has started a petition to get the price of Daraprim reversed back to its original price. Daraprim is critical medication for pregnant women, cancer patients and others who contract a parasitic infection from contaminated food or water. Sign the petition here