Anyone who owns a small business knows what a constant struggle it is. If someone came in and offered to buy your business for enough money that you could retire it would be hard to resist the offer. Especially if the alternative is that they open a store across the street and undercut you until you go bankrupt.
Walgreens bought and extinguished Barron Drugs, but I went there for my prescriptions because they hired Barron's employees.
Recently I lost my prescription drug coverage (another issue). I had been paying a 50 percent copayment of $11.60 for a generic medicine. This means that Walgreens was getting $23.20. It would be safe to assume that they weren't selling below cost. Now they wanted $281, a 1,211 percent markup.
After calling around to see if I could do better here's what I found.
CVS $540: 2,328 percent markup, Riteaid $405: 1,841 percent markup, Walmart (Secaucus) $202: 871 percent markup (This is a bargain?), Tucker Drugs $33: 142 percent markup, or 16.34 percent of Walmart's price.
How can this be explained? Isn't free market competition supposed to keep prices within bounds? This isn't capitalism, it's extortion, and if it's not illegal, then it's extreme corruption on a national scale. Apparently I haven't been cynical enough.
This country has many problems, but one of the biggest is that we are being sucked dry by corporate predators. The argument that regulations stifle competition and raise prices doesn't hold up here. Large national chains suck the life out of individuals and small businesses and then use the money to pay top executives exorbitant salaries, disseminate propaganda, invest over seas and lobby politicians. The low wage jobs they create are more than offset by the jobs they destroy.
We need law makers to legislate on behalf of working people (and those who can't find work). But who can compete with the money that corporations have stolen from us? Especially since the "Citizen's United" decision by the Supreme Court. This isn't class warfare, it's a massacre.
The question for our legislators is; What are you going to do about this?