Patents, High Drug Prices

From: K
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 10:37 AM
Subject: Patents/Prices/Monopolies on medicine

Hi Dr. Block,

I’m grappling with an issue that is giving me trouble because of my still infantile understanding of the world and Libertarianism. Pundits with anti capitalistic agendas point to Martin Shkreli as the perfect example of the greedy business man exploiting his monopoly of medicine. Looking online I found some articles (can’t confirm how correct) stating that due to government regulations there were roadblocks preventing generic forms of that medicine to be created or sold.

Unless you know specifically that what I stated above is incorrect (in which case please modify the question) let’s assume that the above is correct. How should our current US government handle the greedy businessman with the drugs. Do we price control? Do we force him to provide the recipe for others? Do we accept that if people want to live they voluntarily pay the large sum?

I would like to note that I understand Milton Freidman’s point about the pencil and how everyone works together. No single person would created the cancer curing pill. But until the knowledge is dispersed and variations are made there will be a time where there will be a single group that has the recipe (or maybe not?)

Best regards, K

Letter 2

On Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 4:03 PM Walter Block <> wrote:

Dear K:

Astronomical prices, when not caused by government inflation, are due to government patents, or protectionism or other such interferences with the market. Under laissez faire capitalism, prices tend to be low, and there’s greater prosperity than under any other system.

Best regards,


Letter 3

From: K

Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 4:31 PM

To: Walter Block <>

Subject: Re: Patents/Prices/Monopolies on medicine

If patents are what restricts production of generic drugs. What should the role of patents then be? Should it just be to pay royalties to the original maker rather than restrict copy car drugs?

Letter 4

Dear K:

I oppose all patents as a rights violation:

Block, 2013; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; De Wachter, 2013; Kinsella, 2001, 2012;  Long, 1995; Menell, 2007A, 2007B; Mukherjee and Block, 2012; Navabi, 2015; Palmer, 1989.

Block, Walter E. 2013. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House; isbn: 978-1-908089-37-3;

Boldrin, Michele and David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;

De Wachter, Joren. 2013. “IP is a thought crime.” at TEDxLeuven. June 6;

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2001. “Against Intellectual Property,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, Winter, pp. 1-53;

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2012. “Economic Freedom of the World Rankings and Intellectual Property: The United States’ Bad Ranking is Even Worse Than Reported.”

Long, Roderick. 1995. “The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights.” Formulations. Vol. 3, No. 1, Autumn;

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “Intellectual Property and the Property Rights Movement.” Regulation, Fall;

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “The Property Rights Movement’s Embrace of Intellectual Property: True Love or Doomed Relationship?” Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 34.

Mukherjee, Jay and Walter E. Block. 2012. “Libertarians and the Catholic Church on Intellectual Property Laws.” Journal of Political Philosophy Las Torres de Lucca. Issue No. 1, July-December, pp. 59-75;ólica-en-las-leyes-de-propiedad-intelectual&Itemid=24&lang=en&Itemid=23

Navabi, Ash. 2015. “To Taylor, Love Freedom.” June 23;

Palmer, Tom. 1989. “Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach” Hamline Law Review, Spring, Vol 12 No. 2.



12:58 am on September 23, 2019