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Free vaccines for everyone!
19 October 2004 - Los Angeles Times

The editorial, commentary, and most of the letters dealing with the flu vaccine shortage made clear what we’ve all suspected about the public’s feelings toward health care: they expect to be given what they want, when they want it, for the price they want to pay, and they expect the government to force individuals and companies to provide it, regardless of the illegitimate and immoral claim it puts on the effort and ingenuity of one person for the sole benefit of another.

There was the tiniest hint of recognition in Katharine Greider’s commentary and in a couple of the letters that vaccine producers face excessive regulation and an increasingly litigious environment. Ms. Greider would have us believe that the government’s carrot and stick just haven’t been wielded accurately enough. There’s a reason that between 1967 and 1984 the number of U.S. vaccine producers fell from 37 to 15, while the number of FDA-licensed vaccines fell from 380 to 88 - and the reason is the use of the carrot and stick in the first place. One would think we’d have learned by now.

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