Slate Star Codex

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on March 19 2017. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Slate_Star_Codex. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Slate_Star_Codex. Purge

Template:Pp-blp Template:Pp-vandalism Template:Infobox website Slate Star Codex is a blog pseudonymously[1][2] written by Scott Alexander, a practising psychiatrist, and occasional guest bloggers. The blog covers a wide range of topics including psychiatry, psychopharmacology, scientific methodology, and political and social issues.


Notable topics covered by blog posts on Slate Star Codex have included:

Alexander periodically posts book reviews on Slate Star Codex. Slate Star Codex has regular "open threads" under which commenters can discuss anything they like, and regular links posts summarising links from around the Web.

Debate with Vox writer about pharmaceutical regulation

Template:Overly detailed In 2016, Alexander posted a long blog post on Slate Star Codex critiquing an article[12] on Vox that had called for pharmaceutical price regulation in the United States.[13] The Vox article had advocated this on the grounds that the price of the EpiPen had been hiked by 400% over the course of 9 years, and Sovaldi costed $1,000 per pill in the United States.[12] Alexander's post argued that the cause of the high prices was not too little regulation, but too muchTemplate:Spaced ndash that because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had rejected competitor after competitor to the EpiPen,[13] the EpiPen manufacturer had little competition and therefore had monopoly price-setting power.[5][14] It also argued that a US regulation mandating that if a prescription is for an "EpiPen", the pharmacist must provide an EpiPen specifically, not a cheaper generic alternative, also hurts competition.[1]

The author of the original Vox article, Sarah Kliff, wrote a follow-up article quoting and responding to Alexander's critique. In this follow-up, she acknowledged that Alexander's point, that the successful introduction of generics competing with the EpiPen product in the marketplace would force its price to come down, was "almost certainly true".[5] However, she argued that this was just another way in which the US regulatory system is "incredibly favourable to pharmaceutical companies", combining her original point that pharmaceutical prices are not regulated in the United States, unlike in "the vast majority of developed countries", with Alexander's point that the FDA makes it difficult for competitors to devices like the EpiPen to enter the marketplace. She went on to state that generic drugs are generally effective in bringing down drug prices, and stated that, when looking at the bigger picture of all prescription drug spending in the US, "brand name drugs are the reason that America has higher per-capita drug spending than other countries. Brand-name drugs make up just 10 percent of prescriptions filled in the United States, but account for 72 percent of drug spending," and then quoting from a review article by Harvard health economist Aaron Kesselheim to support her point about price regulation. She concluded the article by arguing that because patented drugs were the bigger issue, greater competition for generic drugs like the EpiPen would not make a big difference to the overall problem of excessively high US spending on prescription drugs.[5]

Alexander then wrote a further blog post responding to Kliff's response.[15]

Main author

Scott Alexander is a psychiatrist at a hospital in the United States. He is an atheist liberal[9] and considers himself part of the rationalist movement.


The blog has been listed among top blogs by liberal journalist Ezra Klein.[16] Conservative writer Jonathan V. Last frequently references Alexander's Slate Star Codex posts, and calls Slate Star Codex "pretty great".[7]

Megan McArdle, blogging on Bloomberg View, recommended the SSC post on cost disease.[17] The same post was linked from Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen, who called the post "very excellent".[18] Bloomberg View columnist and former assistant professor of finance, Noah Smith, also called the post "excellent" and noted "He's right. Americans pay much more for a university education than do people in Europe or East Asia. They pay about twice as much for health care and infrastructure, without any clear difference in quality."[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gillespie, Nick (3 September 2016). "A Better EpiPen Is Possible. Here’s How.". Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kissel, Joshua. "Effective Altruism and Anti-Capitalism: An Attempt at Reconciliation". Essays in Philosophy 18 (1). 
  3. Gelman, Andrew (7 October 2015). "Mindset interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement — or not?". Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  4. Wipond, Rob. "Psychiatrists Still Promoting Low-Serotonin Theory of Depression". 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Kliff, Sarah. "Red tape at the FDA doesn’t explain America’s high drug prices". Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Smith, Noah (16 February 2017). "Market failure is the likely culprit in rising costs". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Last, Jonathan V. (23 February 2017). "The Scourge of Cost Disease". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  8. McArdle, Megan (18 February 2015). "Crusaders, Haters and Common Ground". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Last, Jonathan V. (27 November 2016). "Are Donald Trump and His Voters Racist?". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  10. Dreher, Rod (17 November 2016). "‘Stop It, Lefties, You’re Making Us Crazy’". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  11. Auerbach, David (10 June 2015). "The Curious Case of Mencius Moldbug". Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kliff, Sarah (23 August 2016). "EpiPen’s 400 percent price hike tells us a lot about what’s wrong with American health care". Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Fox, Justin (9 September 2016). "The Strange Case of Off-Patent Drug Gougers". Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  14. Template:Cite magazine
  15. Alexander, Scott (7 September 2016). "Reverse Voxsplaining: Brand-Name Drugs". Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  16. Klein, Ezra. "What Andrew Sullivan's exit says about the future of blogging". Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  17. Megan McArdle (February 14, 2017). "Why Some Consumer Costs Just Grow and Grow". Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  18. Tyler Cowen (February 10, 2017). "What is behind the cost disease?". Marginal REVOLUTION. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 

External links