Using the State to Crush Competitors

What do you do when you’re a large pharmaceutical company and some new product comes to market that challenges your supremacy? Get your friends in the state to regulate that competitor out of existence:

This fall, the European Parliament considered new rules regulating e-cigs. E-cigarette manufacturers, of course, lobbied like crazy to block the proposal, and it seems they won. But the drugmakers fought for stricter regulations, for obvious reasons: E-cigarettes compete with prescription drugs that are supposed to help people stop smoking.

GlaxoSmithKline sells Nicorette gum and Johnson & Johnson manufactures nicotine patches. The New York Times reported these companies helped lead “strong opposition” to e-cigarettes.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is about to announce new proposed rules on e-cigarettes. Big Pharma’s shadow hangs over the rule-making.

It’s a time honored tradition that has been used by monopolists since the beginning of statism. Here in Minnesota there is already talk of regulating e-cigarettes the same as tobacco cigarettes. Why would a far safer alternative be regulated the same as a far more dangerous product? Because the far safer alternative stands to cut into the profits of some very powerful lobbyists and the state is generally quick to protect those that have scratched its back.