Monday, February 7, 2011

Forbes: How the FDA May Kill Millions Of Us

Steve Forbes warns us about how government policies are slowing drug development in his latest OpEd, "How the FDA May Kill Millions Of Us".

Here's an excerpt:
The pipeline for new antibiotics is drying up. Since the 1940s the miracle of penicillin and its relatives has saved tens of millions of lives. Antibiotics easily conquered such illnesses as pneumonia and tuberculosis, which routinely killed countless numbers of people each year. Bacteria, of course, can become drug-resistant, but for decades pharmaceutical companies, especially in the U.S., routinely came up with new antibiotics to fell new killer germs. Now, however, the flow of new stuff has dried to a trickle.

Authorities are taking note of all this, as is the U.S. Congress. Henry Waxman has declared that the pharmaceutical industry's failure to develop a reliable new class of antibiotics is an example of "market failure." No it isn't, Henry; it's a failure of government regulation. The FDA has made clinical trials cost-prohibitive.
(Read the full text of "How the FDA May Kill Millions Of Us")

I'm glad this issue is getting more national attention. In particular, deaths caused by regulatory agencies like the FDA represent a classic example of Frederic Bastiat's principle of "the seen vs. the unseen".

We'll never know what drugs would have already been developed had it not been for FDA interference. And we'll never know which of the many patient deaths that occurred could have been prevented if those drugs had been developed.

And I'm especially glad that Steve Forbes is putting the blame where it belongs -- on the government, not the free market. Let's hope people listen to Forbes on this issue.

(For more on this, see Stella Daily Zawistoski article "How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders Health" and my recent PajamasMedia piece, America's Other Drug Problem".)