Last week, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to bring down corporate monopolies in an antitrust policy similar to Roosevelt’s from the 1920s. Hopefully, this policy will bring some much-needed change to the economy, but how exactly will this affect medical supplies and the people who need them?
The Executive Order
Biden’s executive order starts with a brief introduction regarding how market consolidation has affected each industry. While we most often think of megacorporations like Amazon or Disney when we hear the word “monopoly,” there are monopolies in nearly every industry, including the medical industry. In medicine, the order states that the monopolization of prescription drugs, healthcare items, and services has caused prices to skyrocket. Because of this, many citizens cannot afford essential medications and treatments, much less assistive items to make their lives easier. This order itself aims to break up medical monopolies to allow citizens access to more affordable healthcare services.
What does This Mean?
For the average person, there are several ways this policy may help them:
For Nurses and Caregivers
For millions of workers, non-compete agreements prevent them from switching jobs in their field for a certain amount of time after leaving their current position. This agreement initially exists to allow employers a place in their given market, but non-compete agreements also enable businesses to avoid providing fair wages and benefits to employees. Since an employee cannot leave their position for a better paying one elsewhere, non-compete agreements can cause more harm than good to the average worker. This, of course, extends to employees of the medical industry as well.
Under this new executive order, Biden hopes to raise wages and increase worker benefits by eliminating non-compete agreements.
Making Medicine Affordable
People who require prescription drugs can only get them through a few channels. Only a few companies manufacture items like EpiPens and Insulin, and thus their prices are far too high for the average person to pay for. The new antitrust policy aims to remedy this by working with the FDA to bring in prescription drugs from Canada, which are often much cheaper than ones in the States. In addition, this order will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to produce generic forms of prescription medications to bring prescription costs down.
In terms of durable medical equipment and other prescription devices like hearing aids, the order aims to establish generic, over-the-counter versions of products for consumers, making these items more accessible in the same way as prescription drugs.
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