Rick Santorum wants to make voters realize Mitt Romney isn’t the only candidate in the presidential race with a glaring lack of empathy for the poor.
Santorum, in a discussion with a mother and her sick child, bravely stood up for the defenseless drug companies and said demand would determine the cost of medical therapies.
“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” Santorum said, “but paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”
Uh, Rick, poor people have a problem paying $900 for an iPad because they don’t have $900 and thus don’t have an iPad. They have an issue with $900 for a life-saving drug because they don’t have $900 nor even the $400 it would cost for their child’s funeral.
An iPad is a luxury item. You can live without it. Your children are not luxury items. If times are tight, you can’t simply put little Susie up on eBay.
Santorum said drugs take years to develop and cost millions of dollars to produce, and manufacturers need to turn a profit or they would stop developing new drugs.
“You have that drug, and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug,” Santorum said. “There are many people sick today who, 10 years from now, are going to be alive because of some drug invented in the next 10 years. If we say: ‘You drug companies are greedy and bad, you can’t make a return on your money,’ then we will freeze innovation.”
Santorum believes that people are only motivated to develop life-saving drugs out of profit. I’m not religious but just what are they teaching him in that building with the cross on top that he goes to every Sunday? Is it an Ayn Rand book club? Couldn’t the motive to develop drugs that save children’s lives be to… save children’s lives?
However, as Santorum points out, drug manufacturers have to turn a profit or they couldn’t stay in business. Then no drugs would be developed. I’m sure the cost of producing a $900 drug breaks down as follows:
Labor: 75 cents
Overhead (rent, electricity, Flavia coffee machine in break room): $1
Abilify, the drug the child takes for schizophrenia, is produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which last year saw its first quarter profits increase 5% to $3.3 billion. Maybe this Mom and Pop can afford to spring for two Flavia machines in the break room.
Santorum told a large Tea Party crowd here that he sympathized with the boy’s case, but he also believed in the marketplace.
“He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” Santorum said. “And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”
If Bristol-Myers Squibb made just $1 billion in the first quarter of 2011, its employees might have to get by on that nasty instant coffee and no drugs would get produced. Basically, if you don’t believe in the markets and global biopharmaceutical companies preying on the sick and desperate, you want children to die.