Sort of a hot topic. John Stossel from the Fox Business Network suggested there is no need for a Federal Drug Administration. Stossel’s point is the FDA lets the pendulum swing to far, to the point where protection and regulation keep some life-saving drugs off the market.
For background, here’s the segment from O’Reilly last night, courtesy Mediaite with a hat tip to Morrissey at Hot Air who – I thought – was supposed to be taking some time off. (Dude, take some R&R.) On the table is also a discussion on the Drug Enforcement Agency.
More is promised tonight on Stossel’s program, but this is going to be one hard pill for Americans to swallow even though I tend to agree with Stossel. The point is, companies – individual proprietorships, small businesses or Fortune 50 corporations – generally have their own interests in mind when they make product and service decisions. Certainly there will be the occasional “bad” company that really screws things up for customers, but businesses don’t want to do things that would kill their business, including but not limited to, killing their customers.
That’s the rub. When you’re discussing pharmaceuticals, mistakes can and do kill people. But has the FDA “saved” us from bad drugs? I’m certain they have, but there has also been many instances where the FDA’s approval of a drug did not work out so well and people have died. The FDA didn’t want it to happen and neither did the drug companies.
Some, including Morrissey, suggest an independent private company – similar to Underwriters Laboratories (a.k.a UL) – could step in to provide guidelines and help with testing.
There is a private-sector middle ground between government control and blind trust. In many industries, that is provided by insurers to make sure that products and services are genuine, safe, and tested. The most well known of these, Underwriters Laboratories, performs the FDA function in the private sector on a wide range of products and services. Hardly any consumer electronics gets sold today without the UL label on it. The certification process costs manufacturers and other providers a pretty penny — and I can tell you this from personal experience.
Earlier today I was having a discussion in the Radio Vice Online chatroom during the big radio show (weekdays 9 a.m. to noon ET) on incrementally moving power away from the Federal government and back to the states and the people. It’s not just a legislative change or new government policy, it’s more of a culture change which is much harder to do since so many states, counties, cities and towns now have found they are hooked on the Federal teat.
The culture change may well take decades, but the alternative is what we currently have or an even more expansive Federal government and extension of soft tyranny.
Might we start with closing a government bureaucracy like the Department of Education? That way, detractors could not claim “people will die” without out this totally redundant and worthless Executive Branch department. We could then move on to the Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and others.
We could also get into the redundancy problem … The Department of Health and Human Services has the FDA and the Department of Agriculture has the Food Safety and Inspection Service, but that’s probably another post.