Occupational licensing has run amok. Nearly a third of Americans need government permission in the form of a “license,” just to lawfully do their job. These laws contribute to what Timothy Sandefur has called a “Permission Society,” and they make it harder for people to earn a living. Worse, they are often enacted at the behest of interest groups whose sole purpose is to erect a barrier to the occupation and to keep people from competing with them.
The Chicago Tribune has published my op-ed, co-written by PLF attorney Larry Salzman, about the city’s newest misguided licensing scheme, this time for drug sales reps. Like most occupational licensing laws, this scheme won’t protect the public; it will just make it harder for people to find jobs.
As we write:
Why the new law? The city argues the licensing requirement will somehow help reduce opioid drug abuse. Chicago has been particularly hard hit by prescription drug abuse; anything that can save lives or reduce the devastation of that abuse on Illinois families is welcome. But that’s not a rationale for the new licensing mandate.
Pharmaceutical reps don’t actually sell drugs; they merely discuss them with doctors and provide literature and samples. Doctors make independent decisions to prescribe the drugs they think are necessary, and pharmacies sell them — all of which is already heavily regulated by federal and state authorities. Even the literature provided by sales reps is itself separately regulated by the FDA or other governmental agencies. If the government is concerned about deceptive marketing practices, it can forbid deceptive marketing practices, rather than imposing a burdensome licensing scheme that erects a barrier to entering the industry.
Read the full thing here.