Government-issued birth control pills won’t remedy unwanted pregnancies

In reading the article “Democratic president would lower pill prices,” I would like to question some of the points that the author has made.

People often complain when prices go up, and we never hear anything when prices decrease or stay the same. The price paid for something is a function of supply and demand. In the birth control case, women buy the pills because they believe the benefits of the pill outweigh the costs. If the benefits were not greater than the cost, no one would buy the pill. The article talks of avoiding buying contraceptives or just resorting to other alternative medications.

One alternative is to buy the generic form of birth control. Despite what many believe about generics, they are the same as brand name drugs. Drug companies usually have patents that last for many years. After the patent expires, other companies can make the drug and sell it as a generic. The chemical compound is identical to the name brand drug but the consumer gets to buy it at a greater discount.

No one has to buy these pills – it is a choice. Isn’t it realistic for a woman not to buy the pills and not become pregnant? Many generations of women have lived without birth control, and saying pills are needed is utter nonsense.

When the author stated Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to remedy the situation, I question how they will do this. Let’s say for a simplistic example that either candidate gets elected and forces producers of birth control pills to distribute the pills for free.

You’re probably thinking “Where do I sign up?” Even if the pills were free there still would be unwanted pregnancies. Just because something is free doesn’t mean people have to take it. I think we would have less unwanted pregnancies but at what cost? The heart of the matter is someone will have to pay for this.

Higher taxes or cutting spending is the only way this could be possible. If the government were to force me to pay for something I wouldn’t use – in the form of higher taxes – wouldn’t that in a way be legalized theft? I would not be using the pill or even consenting to it yet I have to pay for others to use it.

Prices are high because of supply and demand. Drug companies that make birth control and other types of pills make millions of dollars, but only because people are choosing to buy them. No one can say what the price of something ought or should be because the market decides for them.

If companies are making lots of money off birth control and other pills, it induces people to form their own companies and create competition. Companies don’t have an incentive to have high prices because then they would go out of business. Many companies do well financially because they lower the price of a good or service. If companies are unable to lower the price or provide better service, they will go out of business.

We have to remember that for every successful company there is a company that failed. The government is not held to this type of standard because it will never be out of business. Putting price controls on pills, food or gas will never work. Let’s remember that no law or legislation can repeal the law of supply and demand.

Peter Parlapiano is a junior finance major from Houston.