From the AP (ia Chris Tozzo).
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said he's proposing a bill that that would give the U.S. Department of Justice authority to crack down on "unscrupulous drug distributors" who sell hospitals life-saving prescription medicines in short supply at huge markups.
The problem has been growing this year, as shortages have dramatically worsened for normally cheap generic injected medicines that are the lifeblood of hospitals: drugs for cancer, pain, infections, even liquid nutrition and anesthesia for surgery.
The problem, of course, is there is a shortage of some medicines likely due to supply having decreased and when there is a shortage, the market price will rise. If the price is not allowed to rise, then people will try to find some other way - another rationing mechanism - to get their medicine. Rationing by waiting, black markets, and bribery are all common non-price rationing mechanisms that arise when prices aren't allowed to rise. It's not at all clear that human behavior under these mechanisms is less "unscrupulous" than under the price system. In fact, I believe all Mr. Schumer's bill would do if passed is make the problem worse, not better.