Here is an interesting solution to the contraceptive debate. You change the policy to allow pharmacists to determine whether a female can purchase contraceptives. This policy could be extended to several drugs that presently require prescriptions such as Viagra. Increased access typically results in lower costs. This could lower health care costs without lowering health care outcomes.
What is the regulation? It’s the one that requires contraceptive pills to be prescription drugs. If, instead, drug companies were allowed to sell contraceptives over the counter, access would rise and cost would fall.
But let’s say that you think that’s a little too much freedom for women to have. I don’t think that, but it’s not unusual that I’m in the minority here. I think women should be much freer than most people think. I think they should be free to buy foreign trucks without paying a tariff and should be free to buy goods from Cuba and Iran, to take two examples.
But, OK. Let’s say I can’t convince you. So how about this? Have the government keep insisting that contraceptives be prescription drugs–can’t trust those women, don’t you know–but let pharmacists decide whether to sell them to women who ask for them. In other words, cut the high-priced doctor out of the loop. This is done in many countries and, in fact, was done in the United States before 1938. Pharmacists often have more information about drugs than doctors do: fancy that.
With that little step, access would rise and cost would fall.