Turing Pharmaceuticals' decision to substantially increase the price of Daraprim was ethical
This is a team debate for BSH1's tournament.
Teams are as follows:
PRO: ShabShoral and Bob13
CON: Lannan13 and Danielle
2. Aff constructive, Con constructive and rebuttals
4. Conclusions (no new arguments)
"Turing Pharmaceuticals' decision" - The decision to raise the price of Daraprim (pyrimethamine) to the equivalent of $750 a tablet.
"Was ethical" - Was morally permissable; was an act which can draw no legitimate moral criticism, or one in which such criticism is outweighed by the factors in favour of the act. The act *ought* to have been done.
Thanks to the CON team for the debate.
1. Capitalism and Freedom
It seems clear that, if a system is ethical, so too are the actions it permits. If an ethical system allows unethical actions, there are no grounds for calling it ethical.
This being granted, it follows that, if the system which allowed Turing’s actions was ethical, Turing need not give any apologies whatsoever. That system is laissez-faire capitalism [laissez-faire is implied with every usage of the word]. Note: while the United States is not purely capitalistic, it is the capitalistic elements within which allowed Turing to raise the price of Daraprim. Anything else is irrelevant.
What is capitalism? Capitalism is the system in which individuals are given the right to pursue their own happiness through the exercise of their right to property - property over the self and over the fruits of the self’s labour.
It is commonly heard that anti-capitalists “have empathy.” Consider what a system of an “anti-capitalist” would look like. A system in which people are not allowed autonomy. The questions become pressing, one after another: What empathy is there in eroding personal freedoms? In creating slaves and masters? In human bondage? The anti-capitalist has no answers. Milton Friedman is wise:
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” 
Friedman speaks again:
A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it … gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. 
If Turing acquired, through free trade, the money, and then the rights to Daraprim, there is an unbroken chain from the birth of each individual involved of non-coercive (actual coercion distinguished by its use of physical force or fraud) actions. To say that their actions ought not be done is to say that, no matter how non-coercive and rights-respecting one is, one is still beholden to others; one is subjugated. This is indefensible.
The essence of this point: for Turing’s decision to be unethical, it would have to be argued that capitalism itself is unethical and therefore should be abandoned. This is a monumental claim that requires monumental evidence to prove; my opponent would have to disprove the notion that self-ownership is the foundation of morality (which we will show later), and the inductive defence of capitalism that only takes looking at the obvious increases in virtually all quality-of-life metrics since its origination to grasp. If self-ownership, as established in this round, is not refuted, the PRO team wins by default.
2. Self-Ownership and Self-Interest as the Prerequisites of Ethics
Ethics governs what one should and should not do. As such, the non-voluntary has no bearing on ethics; “what one should do” is only relevant if one can do otherwise. It is only in matters of choice that ethics comes into view.
What is the fundamental prerequisite of choice? Bodily autonomy. One must first be able to physically survive to worry about abstract ethical quandaries. To survive, one has to exercise his corporeal nature; he has to sow the seed, catch the fish, and so on. If one survives on passivity, he does so solely by the action of another, and, since this other should not be privileged arbitrarily, the only conclusion is that pure freedom must be ethical, and negating that freedom must be unethical.
Ayn Rand, the succulent idol, identifies the nature of altruism:
When the common good of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals. 
What morality is in this?
3. Supply and Demand
By raising the price of Daraprim so extravagantly, Turing has ensured that the demand for alternatives explode. This will necessarily lead to other pharmaceutical companies investing in the research of new, better, and cheaper drugs. In effect, Turing has ensured that more people will have access to treatment, a wider range of drugs to choose from, and the lessening of the downfalls of Daraprim itself.
We would like to end with the words of noted medical malpractice lawyer Airmax1227. He says:
Ultimately, I don't take the position that the pharmaceutical company that owns the drug is doing anything wrong. It's obligation is to its employees and its share holders. It's not a charity, and while we can look at this case and say something is wrong with it, I don't think it's worth treating all companies like they owe the public something for free (or less than whatever they feel like charging) because there are cases like these. 
 Friedman, Interview (The Open Mind)
 Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom
 Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
We would like to wish our opponent's good luck in this endeavor. We would like to have everyone keep in mind that both Danielle and I are playing Devil's Advocate in this debate. This round we will begin with our Case and then move onto rebuttals if the limits permit.
Contention 1: Stakeholder Theory
One of the key aspects that surrounds a business is the Stakeholders. The traditional model is that of the Shareholders where only the business is to deliver Dividends to the investors. The only issue with that is there is more than just the investors and the business. There is the Stakeholders that comprise of the community, customers, and more . The one issue here is when the company tries to maximize its profits, it will see a decrease in its income as customers would leave their business for other companies. The only issue in this case is that the USFG has created a monopoly for Daraprim. This shows that there is significant harm created by the business as they are literally forced to have to pay for this great amount of money for the pill that is produced for $1. I will go more in-depth on the monopoly later on.
Another portion that goes hand-in-hand with the Stakeholder theory is that of Utilitarianism, which is why I'm placing it into this section. We have to look at the Greatest Happiness for the Greatest Number of Sentient Beings. This means that we have to look at the needs of the whole vs. a few individuals. Another key thing we have to look at from Mill is Net Pleasure. If the vaccinations create a greater net pleasure than pain, then it must be implemented for the betterment of society.  Before my opponent comes in and argues that shots hurt, Mill goes and argues that short term pain and pleasure are irrelevant and long term pleasure and pain is what should be looked at in general. One thing that our opponent's had failed to bring up is what the drug actually does. The drug is an anti-parasite that is for people who have cancer and HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization has labeled it as one of the most important and needed drugs in the world.  The fact that we are depriving people who are nearing the end of their life we are condemning hundreds of thousands of people to either go bankrupt or die. Only 2,000 people could afford it before the increase even though 22.5% of Americans over the age of 12 suffer from the parasite that destroys their immune system . It is more likely than not that these numbers will rise substantially as this giant increase will push them further and further away from being able to afford this and with so many Americans suffering from a deadly ailment that this pill that takes $1 for us to make is ludicrous. This is no longer about profits here, but about the destruction of human life.
Contention 2: Market Monopoly
In the free market and prices rise in some area, it is naturally for the customer to select another product from a rival that is cheaper than the previous product of near equal quality. When there are monopolies, this is not the case as people have no choice, but to purchase a product from these producers. The same is here with Daraprim, as they have no close alternative as they hold a monopoly on the market. Though there are currently several companies that sell Daraprim like drugs in the global market, they are barred from selling in the US due to FDA standards and other governmental barriers to entry that literally make it impossible for any other company to enter the market . Without an alternative, people are forced to be held hostage to these groups or give them a potential death sentence.
The free market cannot operate under monopolies since there is no incentive for change or anything at all. This is seen as Daraprim raised their prices substantially. To show the sort of issue that is going is to see that the pill is really only $1 to produce and was raised from $13.50 to $750 per pill . This shows that they are making a substantial increase in their turn-over rate, which not only covers any and all costs the company has, but is a substantial profit. The monopoly itself should be abolished and have competition created, but since the government has barriers to entry that are extremely too high, this pharma company should work to lower their prices. They sellers of Daraprim had stated last year that they were looking to cut prices by 50% for hospitals and have it fall all across the board . We know that it is possible for the company to sell at a way lower price and make a profit, but instead, they reneged on their promise and went the opposite way and raised their prices by 5,000%.
Contention 3: Ethic of Care
The Ethic of Care, or also known as the feminism argument, revolves around the protection of special relationships. The Utilitarian argument regards the importance of the protection of the society and this argument will get down to the individual level. The Ethic of Care values special relationships like that of family, but as well as the relationships between generations as the Eco-feminism argument pushes for the preservation of future generations.  In order to win this argument I must show that the mandatory protects and preserves future generations. As I have previously shown, Americans are in serious need for this drug and even before the price increase, not all Americans were getting the treatment they needed. 22.5% of Americans over the age of 12 are in need of such a drug while only 2,000 people are able to get it due to the amount it costs. We can see that the aspect that we are continuing the loss of human lives here constantly leading to a harm in the future of humanity. We are not helping our fellow Americans, but instead digging their graves just so the company can increase their profit margins as many Americans who need the drug can't receive it.
R1: Capitalism and Freedom
Our opponent's goes on to start an entire fallous argument by arguing around the resolution through a causal inductive argument. It shouldn't be accepted on these grounds alone, yet we shall continue to debate it. The major flaw here is that our opponents has made this simple as all we have to do is show that there is something unethical about the free market system which permitted.
Our opponents go and bring up the most preposterous statement that if we don't have capitalism then we would have slavery. This isn't quite true as a system, per say Socialism which is what we assume they are talking about, is purely an economic system, not political, so slavery would not be such an aspect that our opponents bring up. Then they make the Appeal to Authority by having Friedman argue for them. We could intern show how bad Friedman's policies where nations perished. In Chile, President Allende was elected and put forth a New Deal like plan and the GDP increased and wealth inequality decreased. The CIA instituted a Coup and replaced him with Pinochet, one of the most ruthless dictators in all of South American history. They had the Chicago Boys, many of the main followers and students of Friedman, take control of Chilean economics. Their GDP shrank 15% and unemployment skyrocketed in many places to 22% . To make things worse, Pinochet wouldn't permit any opposition by executing many opposition and famously throwing people off of helicopters. Is this really the freedom and rights that our opponents are talking about? No, this is a crime against humanity and Friedman's own policies are solely responsible for this.
Another aspect of the argument they are using is that slavery is condemned, yet Capitalism is the sole reason that men were enslaved. Slaves allowed the elimination of what would be the labor's wages which allowed further maximizing of profit these nations engage in. Many people even see that this is done when nations outsource overseas to get cheaper labor where places like China have child labor. Lenin had argued that Capitalism requires a sort of cheap labor and explained how they needed colonization in order for them to get a cheap labor sources and more resources that they have exhausted in their nation . This has been done throughout history and has shown to enslave people and strip them of any self-ownership. This goes against everything our opponents bring up in this debate showing that the only way to actually find the ethical choice is a vote in negation.
We can see that Truing's decision wasn't completely through Capitalism as there were many barriers to entry and other government agencies and checks that are in place to help regulate the company. As we have brought up in our 2nd Contention, Turing has a monopoly on the drug, showing that it is not completely a free market and there are known alternatives, but the government barriers to entry bar it from entrance which gave them the comfort of being able to raise prices. As a result, it was really done through a Socialist system that they are arguing against.
We apologize as we are out of characters and will have to finish addressing the rest of our opponents' arguments in our next round.
1. Freeman, R. Edward (1984). Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.
(Util and the idea of monopoly will be dealt with below.)
Turing allows those without insurance to get the drug for no cost. For those who are insured, they have to pay no more than $10 for a prescription. Insurance companies, a symptom of a mixed economy that our opponents are arguing against, are the only ones harmed by the price increase. 
In Martin Shkreli’s own words, “We're dramatically increasing the access to Daraprim, lowering copays, giving away more drug for free... half of the drug we give away is for $1, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.” 
Given these points, even if Util or Ethic of Care is accepted as the framework for this debate, our opponents have not shown that the impacts they cite actually occur. If Turing practically gives the drug away, the poor are not harmed, and thus our opponents are left without an argument.
I must refer my opponents to our constructive case, wherein we show that bodily autonomy is a prerequisite for any ethical theory. Without self-ownership, the right to exercise one’s mind and obtain property, the right to sovereignty, there can be no talk of the “greater good”. Since our opponents have
It is no secret that Turing raised the price of Daraprim a great deal, so my opponent’s referral to the price hike as a “gotcha” point is unusual. We know that Daraprim is much more expensive now than it was before. That is exactly what we’re defending. Restating what Turing did is not an argument for its immorality. Talk about how Turing “could” lower the price of the drug is completely superfluous without a positive argument showing that they have an obligation to. We feel that we have conclusively shown that such an obligation is nothing more than a spook, and therefore, even if the price hike was 200,000%, Turing would still be morally white.
The real issue posed here is whether or not, since the federal government restricts trade, producers still have the right to do what they will with their products. The answer, we feel, is a resounding “yes”.
Do not get it twisted: the fact that the federal government requires new drugs to get through an immense amount of red tape is undesirable and immoral. This is not the question at hand. Turing is not the aggressor here. Turing did not make the laws, does not stop competitors from entering the market, and, therefore, is not to blame for the state of the system. Those rotten elements of the U.S. mixed economy are to blame, and should be blamed. However, Turing has done nothing but work within the framework it was given.
Assume that, tomorrow, all regulations fell away. Would Turing’s actions still be immoral? I think not. In a free society, what they did would be completely acceptable, and therefore the fact that this is not a free society only amplifies the morality of their actions. They are doing that which they would have the right to do in a fully capitalist U.S.; they are making due with what they have to simulate the proper way the world should work.
Again, blame the system, not Turing. Any blood is on the hands of the federal government, and shifting the responsibility to Turing only gives a free pass to the regulators.
Ethic of Care
Our opponents has nowhere justified the “Ethic of Care”, and have instead merely asserted a moral duty where it should not be. Even if such a duty is proven, Daraprim, as argued earlier, would still be available.
R1: Capitalism and Freedom
Our opponents continue to build strawmans; they claim that slavery is a “result” of capitalism. Because of the desire to earn more and more money, they argue, capitalists would pounce at any chance to gain labour without paying wages. What my opponents do not recognise, though, is that this is not allowed under laissez-faire capitalism.
Quoting our definition of capitalism from the last round:
“Capitalism is the system in which individuals are given the right to pursue their own happiness through the exercise of their right to property - property over the self and over the fruits of the self’s labour.”
This clearly would exclude slavery, child labour (children must be protected until the stage where they can rationally exercise bodily autonomy), and Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship.
All of the above are non-capitalist systems, exactly the kinds of things we are arguing against. In this way, our opponents has made our point for us.
A note on Chile: Even if the economy was hurt in the short term, this is irrelevant to our case, for our case rests on the idea of inalienable human rights; the right to a job or to a good economy is not one of these. Where these rights are violated, capitalism does not exist, thus answering Pinochet.
As has been explained, our case does not require the U.S. to have a capitalist system; it only requires that the actions Turing have taken be acceptable if the U.S. did have such a system. Given this, and our elucidation of the foundation of morality as a whole, the resolution stands affirmed.
EXTENSION: SUPPLY AND DEMAND
For this round, it may seem a bit jumbled as we will start where we left off on our opponents' case and then move onto our defense. R2 will be assimilated into another one of our contentions due to the similarities.
Many thanks to the Con team.
It is fair to say that the current system does not incentivize competition to the same degree as a free market would, but we hold that competition will be fostered by Turing’s decision, no matter how much more would be fostered in a free market. There is still utility being created. Since we have established previously that Turing owes no obligation to anyone to provide access to medication, any utility created by Turing does not merely erase their debts, but rather affirms the unnecessary good they are doing.
Our opponents clearly ignore the functions of our rebuttals. They challenge the assertion that Turing is actively harming people who need the medication (even though we do not need to do so, since we have shown that, even if Turing was restricting the flow of medication, nothing would be wrong with that), and, as such, whether insurance should or should not exist, or other related concerns, are irrelevant.
They then say that we have not addressed the percentage of people who need the medication. This is wholly false. Turing gives the medicine out to those who cannot afford it. If this is true, there is no problem with the price, for no one has to go without the medication in any case. Again, our opponents haven’t provided any justification for ignoring the main point of this argument.
My opponents then say that “the free market … has failed to do its job”. Does this not contradict his arguments that the US is not a free market? How can that which exists only in part be blamed for the overall situation of the nation?
This is also the first time they have brought up the point about the rights of businesses vs. the rights of individuals. The answer is simple: since a business is just a coalition of individuals exercising their individual bodily autonomy, the business has the same rights as those who comprise it. Thus, there is no problem here.
Again, what Turing did would have been acceptable in a free market, and what is acceptable in a free market is acceptable generally, so therefore what Turing did is acceptable now.
We have conclusively shown that the framework our opponents are using to weigh impacts must be thrown out. They have offered no defense of their moral system; we have. Thus, we must win the debate.
First, our opponents say that affirming property rights implies the right to own other humans as property. This is patently ridiculous – if humans have property rights (as I have said, this is the fundamental principle of capitalism), then they have the rights to their freedoms. If an action would violate a right, then that action cannot be a right in itself; thus, when one talks about property rights, one never includes the right to deny property rights. This would be a contradiction in terms, and I sincerely doubt my opponent believes that it holds true.
Second, let me quote my opponent: “Here the government intervenes in the insurance industry, which then transitions it to a mixed system.” Here, he admits that a government can be “mixed” – it can have capitalistic and non-capitalistic aspects. If this is true, then it follows that it can be true for, say, Chile, to also have had capitalistic and non-capitalistic aspects. The former include the relative freedom of trade and privatization; the latter, Pinochet’s dictatorship and violation of human rights. The same holds for pre-Abolition America.
These rights violations are to be blamed on everything that is not capitalistic, for capitalism cannot coexist, in pure form, with them.
Slavery does not “completely fit” my definition of capitalism, and we beg the reader to seek out that definition and see for themselves.
We have shown the validity and soundness of the following argument:
Conclusion: Raising the price of Daraprim was ethical.
Our opponents have not even begun to tackle this.
This was a good debate and with this final round we see it shall come to a close.
R3: Supply and Demand
Our opponents have yet to actual go forth and show for any reason as to why Turing raised this. Excusing the payments of dividends as an excuse to do such an event shows more of a failure on part of Turing. You could argue that innovation would occur, but their fail and even concede to the fact that Turing has a government created monopoly on the market. There are other solutions where they could be able to interact with assuming such a monopoly wouldn't exist, but since a monopoly on the market exists and it is impossible for other firms to enter the market due to different types of barriers to entry. As a result of the sole existance of the fact Turing has a market monopoly, we must automatically flow this argument over to the side of Con since the free market and any opperations Pro's side speaks of, can not opperate under this system.
Here our opponents, once again, fail to actually refute any of our actual arguments. They completely drop the aspect of Utilitarianism and have completely failed to carry forth any argument against the Stakeholder theory. We have to see that for these reasons here you should vote Con due to the dropping of the ethical theories here and with the fact that Util. and Stakeholder were both dropped and were the ethical values in this debate, then this can only be rectified by a ballot in Negation. Our opponent fails to even address any of our harms in this debate, so please extend them across. Our opponent's failed to show that there is nothing wrong with the issue, but instead they have attempted to brush aside the topic only to try and bypass it. Please extend this argument. Do keep in mind that it is our opponent's who had first brought up insurance and this by itself shows the hypocracy in our opponents' arguments. Our opponent's never show how they give away medicine for free, please throw that out of the debate.
Our opponents here are trying to put words in our mouths. Was it not our opponents who stated that the current US market system should be considered free market? They stated this in their R2 Opening arguments and are now trying to flip them on us. This results in the double negation of their own arguments here. We could do an argue about whether or not businesses should have the rights of people. We would make a case response to this, but doing such would be atopical at this point, so we will throw that argument out of the debate.
C2: Market Monopoly
It is our opponents who are misunderstanding us here. Turing made this decision knowing about the monopoly it has and there is nothing any other company can do and there would be shrills out there to defend them. Our opponents fail to see that the free market they touted is really just a mixed system as even without government control, these monopolies prevent the other companies from entering the markets. If you look at the people who go and try to get these laws passed, it is generally the representatives of the companies who go there. Our opponents know this and try to sidestep the issue by claiming we are blaming a system, but how is that true when it is our opponents themselves going and praising the system that permitted them to do this? If we are to accept their Free Market system of ethics, then this argument by itself negates it.
Our opponent's try to end here with a flawed argument. Just because something would have, doesn't mean it should have. This little ancidote should be thrown out of the debate.
C3: Ethic of Care
Our opponent has failed to go forth and try to refute this. They've only tried to go around it and completely ignored it. Please extend this. Even if you do not accept this, We still have the Stakeholder and Utilitarianism arguments that our opponents have completely ignored and dropped in this debate.
R1: Capitalism and Freedom
This argument against slavery is subpar. We can see this as our opponent's try to argue that people would be entitled to other's rights and this wouldn't be true as though they would be property, they would be subhuman and not have rights to begin with. Thus we can actually see here that slavery would be permissible under this system of ethics. Our opponents have yet to go and address the creation of slavery and the colonialism here in this argument and please extend these arguments across the board.
My opponent seems to have a flawed idea for what Captialism is. True Capitalism, as Ayn Rand argues, is the total seperation of state and economy for the same reasons as seperation of church and state (see Ayn Rand video linked). As a result, the one of the two major people who our opponents have gone forth and sited, shown that this isn't Socialism and with Chile's actions being entirely due to the indirect actions of Milton Friedman by the Chicago boys applying his economics in Chile, they both show that Chile was true capitalism and you have no choice, but to flow this argument to our side as it is something that Friedman himself argues and supports caused such a crime against humanity.
With many of our arguments dropped, we thank you and urge a ballot in Negation.
Thank you and please vote Con!