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Kerry: 'Capitalism To Blame In Flu Vaccine Mess'

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The whole reason there is a "shortage" in the first place is because the government destroyed all the domestic market incentives by putting price controls in place and at the same time built-up demand by sending all of its people to scare the hell out of everyone inot thinking they may be in imminent danger of death without a flu vaccine.

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The whole reason there is a "shortage" in the first place is because the government destroyed all the domestic market incentives by putting price controls in place and at the same time built-up demand by sending all of its people to scare the hell out of everyone inot thinking they may be in imminent danger of death without a flu vaccine.

This is exactly the reason for the shortage, that and ruinous governmental regulations. This is another example of just why the FDA, along with all alphabet soup "Raw Deal" government agencies should be either abolished or privatized.

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Nowhere in Dr. Hurd's article is there any evidence that Kerry blamed capitalism for the flu shot shortage. I'm not defending Kerry, just wondering what the heck he's talking about.

I assume Hurd must be following the election more closely, and that Kerry said something to that effect. I did find this from the Kerry website:

"KERRY HAS A PLAN TO PREVENT A FLU VACCINE SHORTAGE

The Kerry plan will assure: the government will guarantee purchases of unused vaccines at the end of the flu season to help prepare for the possibility of sudden shortages; strengthen no-fault Vaccine Injury Compensation Program; establish an Office of Public Health Preparedness within FDA that will have the authority to contract with manufacturers, accelerate approval for vaccines and other drugs, and waive requirements without compromising safety and efficacy in the event of a public health crisis...."

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/release...2004_1019g.html

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So why was capitalistic America dependent on socialistic England for 50 million doses of flu vaccines?

And why is socialistic Europe not experiencing any shortages of flu shots?

Because the Europeans aren't getting in a tizzy about not getting their flu shots. In other words we have no shortage;)

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Because the Europeans aren't getting in a tizzy about not getting their flu shots. In other words we have no shortage;)

Not only have Europeans not built up demand, they are also heavily subsidizing all their phamaceuticals. In the United States, the government imposed price controls and drove the domestic producers out of the market. Also notice that the English company was producing almost its whole quantity for the American market and not for the English market.

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So why was capitalistic America dependent on socialistic England for 50 million doses of flu vaccines?

And why is socialistic Europe not experiencing any shortages of flu shots?

Subsidies and taxes affect the prices at which people will be willing to buy and sell goods, but don't create surpluses or shortages.

Price controls create surpluses and shortages, but don't affect the prices at which people will be willing to buy and sell goods.

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I believe that the U.S. is the biggest exporter of pharmaceuticals. European countries, with socialized medicine, probably rely on us for drugs.

I don't know the extent of controls in Europe versus the U.S., but I wouldn't be surprised if Europe is in a far worse situation, even as bad as the U.S. is.

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Is there a specific statement that Kerry made that blames the flu vaccine on anything else except the Bush administration?

Did Kerry specifically state that he blames capitalism?

Let's look at Kerry's own website at his press releases for some info:

Here, for instance

That site states:

George W. Bush: Passing the Blame on the Flu Vaccine

Another Chapter in the Not-My-Fault Presidency

For Immediate Release

 

Today, George W. Bush is trying to run away from any responsibility about the important public health crisis of the flu vaccine shortage.  Bush said the sole cause of the shortage is a "major manufacturing defect." While in the end a manufacturing defect caused millions of contaminated vaccines, public health experts agree that the Administration ignored warnings to take action to avert this crisis. America should not be left in a position where our public health is left vulnerable to flaws from a single company.      

For years, the Bush administration was warned that the flu vaccine system was vulnerable because there were too few manufacturers and the federal government should work to get more manufacturers involved. The Bush Administration was warned that there were problems with the manufacturer with the defect -- a manufacturer who had previously been cited by the FDA. Great Britain took action when they learned of these problems, but the Bush Administration ignored the problem. John Kerry won’t ignore experts’ advice and will work to prevent a vaccine shortage.        

BUSH ADMINISTRATION DROPPED THE BALL ON THE FLU VACCINE

Bush Administration Ignored Warnings of Flu Crisis.  The Bush Administration was warned time and again of the need to take action to avert a disastrous vaccine shortage.  The General Accounting Office, the government watchdog agency, raised the alarm in 2001:  “a production delay or shortfall experienced by even one of the three remaining manufacturers can significantly impact overall vaccine availability.”  The GAO stated just last month that “the absence of more detail in HHS’s draft plan creates uncertainty for the states regarding how to plan for the use of limited supplies of vaccine.”  [GAO Report:  Flu Vaccine: Supply Problems Heighten Need to Ensure Access for High-Risk People; May 15, 2001; GAO testimony to Senate Committee on Aging; September 28, 2004]Health Experts Agree With Federal Leadership the Shortage Was Preventable.  Because the Bush administration failed to develop an effective plan, millions of Americans at risk from influenza must go without a flu vaccine.  “’We're in the middle of a crisis that could have been averted,’ said Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and director of its national center for disaster preparedness.”  In addition, “Top flu researcher W. Paul Glezen of Baylor Medical Center said the administration should be faulted for allowing just two companies to be the supplier of all of the nation's flu shot vaccine.  They “didn't display any comprehension of what the problem was and what should be done about it,” he said.” [New York Times, 10/17/04; Knight Ridder, 10/15/04; Washington Post, 10/9/04; New York Times, 10/7/04]

Ignored Signs of Problems with Vaccine Manufacturers. The Food and Drug Administration, America's health watchdog, knew over a year ago of safety problems at the facility that produces half the US flu vaccine supply, but the administration failed to direct FDA to take aggressive action to require the company to correct the problems -- or even to conduct a follow-up inspection. 

Relied Solely on Information from the Drug Company. The Bush administration recently admitted that they relied solely on information from the vaccine manufacturer to determine the status and safety of the vaccine supply. “U.S. health regulators say they found quality-control problems at a flu vaccine factory in Liverpool, England, in June 2003 but did not begin a full inspection of the plant again until Sunday, five days after British authorities yanked the company’s license because of tainted vaccines.”  According to the New York Times, “British health officials said…that their United States counterparts were aware of problems at the Liverpool plan long before the British government revoked its license to make flu vaccines.  [uSA Today October 11, 2004; USA Today October 10, 2004;  New York Times, October 7, 2004] 

I repeat the question:

Where in any of his press releases does Kerry "seek(s) to exploit the crisis by blaming it not merely on the Bush Administration, but on capitalism?"

I call "nonsense" to Dr. Hurd's charges.

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Another possible reason for the demise of domestic production of flu vaccines is the impact that trial lawyers have had on the industry.  This seems to be less of a problem in european countries.

Good point!

Also, bear in mind that many pharmaceuticals have stated that there was no profit in making flu vaccines.

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The long statement from Kerry's web site is an explicit call for more government involvement and intervention, i.e. it is a call for statism, of the fascist variety. Kerry doesn't use the term capitalism, but his premise is clear: something as critical as health care cannot be left to the free market. It must be handled by the government. As far as Kerry is concerned, the vaccine “shortage” proves it.

And that is blaming capitalism.

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The long statement from Kerry's web site is an explicit call for more government involvement and intervention, i.e. it is a call for statism, of the fascist variety.  Kerry doesn't use the term capitalism, but his premise is clear: something as critical as health care cannot be left to the free market.  It must be handled by the government.  As far as Kerry is concerned, the vaccine “shortage” proves it.

And that is blaming capitalism.

Not sure I totally agree with you on that.

This, however, is an excellent example of Kerry upholding the government's role in the drug/vaccine programs, merely saying that he could do it better.

That's not an attack on capitalism. It's more like "better government control."

:)

Neither Bush nor Kerry score points on this issue.

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This situation is a good example of the way government incrementally insinuates itself into our lives.

Private enterprise comes up with a solution to a certain problem, in this case flu vaccinations. We begin to hear about valid reasons for getting a flu shot: Business won't lose man-hours due to seasonal illness; children require extra protection since they are more suseptable to the dangers of complications from the flu, as do the elderly, those with a history of heart and/or respiratory disease, or certain other chronic illnesses.

Because of these facts, the government decides it is necessary to spend vast amounts of tax money, and man hours, "educating" and encouraging people to get a flu shot (in this case, through the CDC). Many do. Businesses begin to provide shots for their employees (and some provide shots for their employees' families). Doctors begin vaccinating the elderly and infants.

But this isn't enough. "What about the children!" Wouldn't it be better if children are required to have a shot, just like it is required for them to be vaccinated against the mumps, etc.? After all, we all know how the flu is spread in school, putting vast numbers of our children at risk.

And what about poor people who can't afford to pay for a shot?! Is it fair for them to be left out just because they can't afford it?!! Doesn't it endanger everyone else if we leave this vast section of the population unvaccinated?!!! What about social justice?!!!!!

It's a crisis! The government must step in. So they go from making a recommendation, to taking small steps to cover those people whom the government deems require a "helping hand," for whatever reason. Being the government, they don't just open clinics to take care of those they decree need extra help (and are probably already on one entitlement list or another), but they institute a "program," with all of its attendant committees, fact-finders and resulting regulations. These regulations require a bureaucracy to guarantee that there will be more problems, which will require further government involvement and, of course, more regulations. And we mustn't overlook the criminalization of those who don't adhere to the regulations.

Now we have a made up crisis, for which Bush is getting the blame, and which gives Kerry the opportunity to come up with another "plan," which advocates further abrogation of our rights and responsibilities as individuals and citizens, and further expands government involvement in health care.

Phooey! A plague on both their houses! Which would mean a crisis in government. Which will require a vaccination. Which means that... :)

Oh, never mind.

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That's not an attack on capitalism. It's more like "better government control."
Oldsalt is correct. As von Mises pointed out, this is exactly the pattern of attack used by capitalism's foes: identify some alleged problem -- generally a problem created by prior government intervention -- then insist that the solution is still more government.
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As von Mises pointed out, this is exactly the pattern of attack used by capitalism's foes: identify some alleged problem -- generally a problem created by prior government intervention -- then insist that the solution is still more government.

I have no argument with that.

However, to ignore Bush's involvment in this debacle is short-sighted. Bush discusses government involvement regarding vaccines, too.

Consider also that Bush was opposed to the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

He's as guilty as Kerry, AFAIC.

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He's as guilty as Kerry, AFAIC.
At least Bush didn't choose a trial lawyer as his running mate. According to Steve Moore of the Club for Growth:

" Last year the total sales of vaccines were $6 billion, but the industry has faced $30 billion in lawsuits."

Who would want to stay in business under those conditions?

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