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Letter to the Editor: Advertising may lower drug costs due to quantity

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

To the editor:

The price of drugs seems outrageous to those of us in our twilight years. Gilbert Degenhardt should be applauded for his suggestions for lowering prices in his March 11 letter. The letter showed concern for a serious problem while offering a solution by advocating that advertising of drugs be prohibited.

On the surface, his suggestion seems to make a lot of sense. However, I am confused by my limited exposure to economics. Things have changed so much during the past 55 years that perhaps the benefits of advertising no longer apply.

When I was in school, we were led to believe that in order to bring the cost of manufacturing down more units should be made. A small output is expensive, but by adding a substantial quantity of units the cost of each item is less. Yet if they can't be sold there is no need to produce them.

Advertising facilitates distribution in huge quantities, causing the price to decline. If drugs were no longer advertised, then prices might go up.

IRA HUDSON

Mound City, Ill.