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Is the FDA obsolete?

Is the FDA obsolete?

How can Underwriter Laboratories work so much faster to "approve" electrical devices as safe? It's because they are relied on by insurance companies that are insuring the liability of the products. Their incentive is to find any safety issues before a consumer sues over it.

Millions of people every year in the U.S. suffer from not having drugs sooner. Who is taking their suffering into account when following the current FDA process for drug approvals?

Worried about drug testing results in an FDA-less country?

Require companies to post an insurance bond to pay possible claims if the drug turns out to be bad. Insist on a transparent process via a third-party provider that is sufficiently underwritten, just like current insurance underwriting works.

At that point, people and Doctors can compare how much that third-party provider charged the drug company to insure the drug and do a quick proxy risk calculation accordingly.

If a company can make a convincing case that their drug is safe enough to avoid claims to their insurer, then it'll be a quick approval process and be on the market quickly.

If it's a dubious and/or highly risky drug, their insurer is going to be incentivized to either require a lot of extra honest studies to prove it's safe or pay a lot more money to offset the risk of claims.

If you insist on government involvement in the drug market, at least align the incentives for the participants with something more useful than the FDA's current "Don't ever approve a drug that has any chance of harm, no matter how much good it would do!"

"Every drug for cancer and other serious life-threatening illnesses that the Abigail Alliance has pushed for earlier access to in our eight-year history is now approved by the FDA! There is not one drug that we pushed for earlier access to that did not make it through the clinical trial process. Many lives could have been saved or extended, if there had been earlier access to these drugs!"
-Frank Burroughs, Founder of the Abigail Alliance

Ask yourself what they didn't think about...

While discussing Communism on EconLog, a comment from Patrick:

If you live in California and your credit card info is stolen by hackers, you will be notified by your CC company. If you live in Texas, you won't. Because they don't have to.

My response was:

Don't forget to tell the story of what is unseen in your example.

What percent of people are financially negatively affected by not being notified in Texas vs. what they would have saved if the State forced notifications? Now compare that to how much every single credit card user in CA is affected by higher fees and costs for owning a credit card as a result of the regulations.

Also, is there a legal rule that prevents a credit card company customer in Texas from including in their agreement with the company that they are to be notified of eventsbased on specified criteria? If not, why do you think people aren't demanding such changes to their CC contract and why aren't there CC companies putting them in and making it a selling point to choose their card?

I strongly suspect that the answer to your complaint isn't that the market has failed, it's that the government regulation in CA forces people to do something other than they'd choose to do on their own and that it doesn't take into acocunt WHY they wouldn't choose that option.

Without even understanding why the market equilibrium in CC contracts exists, it's completely irresponsible to arbitrarily decide to change it based on some feel-good theory about how credit card companies "should" behave based on only the very limited information available to a bureacrat or legislator.

Whenever you hear about some new regulation or consumer protection agency, understand that what the regulation does is limit what people are allowed to do. You should always ask yourself what they didn't think about when they wrote it. What will some of the unintended consequences be?

From their position of limited knowledge, most of the time the people creating these massive regulations don't even understand how it's going to affect them directly, let alone everyone else in the country.

Public Masters vs. Public Servants

If someone is your servant, they do what you want them to do. If you pay them, it's because you agree on what their work is going to be worth to you. That's called a trade.

If someone is your master, they tell you what to do. If you pay them, it's because they require you to pay them. Sometimes that's called tribute.

Now compare the elites in Washington to those two definitions. Don't especially the progressive Democrats, pushing a health care bill that is overwhelmingly opposed by the people, fit the definition of Master better than that of Servant?

Has Democracy in America led to the servant becoming the master? Or has it always been somewhat that way and the idea of "Public Servants" has always been a sham?

They argue that "it's for our own good" and that the elites know better than the people do what's good for them. That may describe a more "benevolent' slave master in the pre-civil war south, but it's hardly how anyone would describe a good servant.


"The master and servant relationship only arises when the tasks are performed by the servant under the direction and control of the master and are subject to the master's knowledge and consent." - Answers.com

Even that argument falls down pretty flat in the face of billions for bailouts and pork benefitting their friends and fellow elites. It's not their money that's getting spent. Who's in charge here, anyway? Who's supposed to benefit again?

Pull the plug on "Your Life, Your choices"

Jim Towey, founder of Aging with Dignity, brings up an interesting point in the Wall Street Journal. Health care reform advocates like to point to the VA as an example of an existing system similar to the proposed public option, but the VA has their own version of the "Death Panels" idea, a planning document called "Your Life, Your Choices".

Apparently the VA has found it necessary to do a little subtle cost controlling by influencing veterans towards a "life is not worth living" and "don't be a burden" mentality.

Read it for yourself on the VA's web site.

A large portion of the document consists of describing various horrible health situations in detail, then asking the veteran if in that situation, would life be difficult, just barely worth living, or not worth living. After that cheery thought, they list possible treatments and are asked to check a box if they'd rather die naturally or receive each treatment. The only treatment that is pre-checked for all the questions is "Comfort care', meaning painkillers and cleanings.

That isn't the only way to present this information and get people thinking about their options and wishes. Compare "Five Wishes". It's shorter, more focused, and much more positive.

So why has the VA chosen to use one over the other? After all, under the Bush administration the VA stopped using "Your Life, Your Choices" because of some of these very issues. The Obama administration started using it again.

It would be interesting to hear the discussion that led to that decision. Did it include a discussion of steering veterans away from expensive life-preserving treatments in favor of a "natural death" and how much money the VA could save as a result?

We don't need government health care providers trying to convince veterans that life may not be worth living.

We certainly don't need new government health care providers.

What we need is more freedom for individuals to contract for their own care and options. The progressives need to stop using regulations to stop people who want to do something different than the "experts" have decided is best for them. That's one of the problems with political solutions to economic problems. One size must fit all.

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