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Continued: Readers Write: (Feb. 17): Child support, Advanced Placement, long-term joblessness, gun rights, drug shortages

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  • Last update: February 14, 2014 - 6:33 PM

 

CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS

The media could use a little consistency

The Star Tribune Editorial Board wants Congress to protect rights of journalists (Feb. 12). Yet the board has consistently called for more gun laws, most of which will not stop crime but will limit rights of citizens who do not break the law.

Any government that limits the rights of free, law-abiding citizens from owning guns eventually will also limit the freedom of the press.

It may be argued that forcing journalists to disclose sources may be used for law enforcement purposes more effectively than limiting firearms ownership among law-abiding citizens can reduce crime.

U.S. media need to protect all rights enshrined in the Constitution, not just their own.

BOB GREEN, Bloomington

 

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Artificially low prices lead to shortages

When it comes to addressing drug shortages, economic factors aren’t just “a contributing factor,” they’re the main factor (“Persistent drug shortages frustrating U.S. doctors,” Feb. 11).

Most of America’s drug shortages arise in the generics market, where profitability is fairly low. This market can sustain only a handful of manufacturers, so when supply disruptions occur, there aren’t a lot — or in many cases any — additional producers in the market to pick up the slack.

Drugs that hold relatively stable prices, on the other hand, tend not to experience shortages, according to an October 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In other words, artificially low prices caused mainly by government programs — ranging from Medicaid to the problematic 340B discount drug program — have caused shortages. Where there’s still a profit, there are rarely shortages.

Peter J. Pitts, New York

 

The writer, a former FDA associate commissioner, is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

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