Saturday, October 14, 2017

aspirin recall

If someone can find a news article about this in either the English-language or Korean-language news sources, I'd be grateful, but from what I understand after having spoken with the staff of two different pharmacies, there has been an aspirin recall in Korea, which is why you can't currently buy aspirin in any of the pharmacies. This has been going on for months, and possibly as long as a year. I didn't know about this, mainly because I had been buying my aspirin from Haddon Supermarket, but it seems that Haddon is now defunct: I went there on Friday morning and found the place shuttered. Because I was confused about how no aspirin at all is available, I asked my favorite pharmacist today (she works in the Mido Building, where I used to work) whether there was only one brand of aspirin sold in Korea: I reasoned that a total recall wouldn't be necessary if several competing brands were available. Sure enough, the pharmacist confirmed that only Bayer aspirin is sold at all pharmacies throughout the country. A bad batch of aspirin was manufactured (in country, I assume) and distributed; when it was discovered that the batch was bad, a recall was instituted, and the government halted aspirin manufacture. That's where things stand now, and the pharmacist didn't know when aspirin would return to the shelves.

This is a very good example of what happens when you don't allow for free-market solutions. If Koreans had had the choice among several brands of aspirin, each manufactured at its own respective facility, there would have been no nationwide recall of all available aspirin: consumers could have simply switched, temporarily, to another brand. As it stands, the situation is almost funny unless you've got a severe headache.

UPDATE: I found this Korean-language article on the recall. If you run it through Google Translate, the English is surprisingly clear, although I can't vouch for its fidelity.

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