Vice season 6 episode 10: ‘The Cost of Living’ and ‘Paradise Lost’


On the latest episode ofVice, the show took a look at the enormous cost of prescription drugs. It is a well-known fact that medication can be extremely expensive.

Add in the fact that prescription drugs are something people have to continually take, that leads to a pretty penny. Specifically, the concept of price gouging was explored. The case of Martin Shkreli was specifically mentioned as an example of price gouging, as he became infamous for drastically increasing the cost of medication. But Vice points out he is far from the only one who engaged in this.

The stunning part is that by itself, the drugs aren’t really that expensive. People not being able to  afford medication has resulted in a sort of mass grey market for prescriptions, where people can cut out the middleman and buy the medication direct from a manufacturer. Furthermore, people are using their chemistry and other scientific training to manufacture perception drugs themselves.

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The other story was a look at the situation in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September of 2017. Vice managed to interview Carmen Cruz, the current Mayor of San Juan who was very critical of how the United States government handled Hurricane Maria’s effect on the island. It actually brought to mind the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans back in 2005.

Her main point was that even through the Caribbean island is one of immense beauty, it is now ravaged and there is no hiding the effects. The flooding, destruction of property, loss of electricity, and diseases that spread as a result drastically contrasts with Puerto Rico’s island paradise image.

This is significant because while Puerto Rico isn’t one of the 50 States, it is legally American territory and it’s citizens are recognized as American citizens. The Hurricane has another somewhat unexpected but not exactly surprising result. The impression about the American government’s response is causing Puerto Ricans to demand an increase in sovereignty for the island.

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Both stories this week feature the idea of cost; both in financial terms and in human terms. It’s the ancient idea for every action there is a reaction seen in human behavior.