In the case of the EpiPen, we can’t blame the corporation.
Corporations are financial constructs not social constructs. As financial constructs, their one objective is to maximize shareholder returns. Any corporate altruism you might have witnessed was surely backed by (1) a tax advantage, (2) a marketing advantage, or (3) threat, competitive or regulatory. Nothing about the EpiPen changes the corporate objective of improving shareholder value.
You probably don’t like this. In fact, judging by the press, most people don’t seem to like this. There is a sense of injustice. “But wait, lives are at stake here!”
Hello?!?!? Lives are at stake with a lot of corporate decisions:
- How often should the meat be checked for bacteria?
- How much extra fuel should the jet carry in case of emergency?
- Do we really have to recall 1 million air bags because 0.01% are defective?
We make similar life-balancing decisions in our personal lives:
- Should I replace the tires on my car or try to get another month out of them?
- Should I drink another beer when I know I should start drinking water?
- Should I buy supplemental health insurance now that I have another child?
The question is not whether corporations are good or bad. The question is whether essential drugs should be controlled by corporations knowing that profits, not social good, are their motivation.