Archive for November 9th, 2011

I recently commented on some astounding numbers showing that each regulatory bureaucrat destroys 100 jobs in the productive sector of the economy.

That’s obviously terrible news. Heck, it would be awful if each bureaucrat caused the destruction of 2 private-sector jobs.

But here are some excerpts from a John Stossel column about how the bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration cause people to suffer and needlessly die.

Recently, there have been shortages of some medicines. Cancer patients can’t get drugs they need. Why not? One reason is that a big drugmaker shut down for a year in part to meet Food and Drug Administration rules. The FDA makes it so expensive and difficult to sell drugs that there isn’t an eager pack of companies rushing to the fill the gap. …Does the FDA say it’s sorry for its part and back off? Of course not. Regulators almost never do that. In fact, the FDA wants more power. It wants to regulate how your doctor uses his smartphone. I’m not kidding! The FDA wants the power to approve mobile medical apps that let doctors monitor patients’ vital signs over their phones. As one doctor put it, “Even though I’m away from the hospital, I can still look at … real-time wave form data just as if I were at the patient’s bedside.” Sounds great. It makes doctors more efficient. But the FDA basically says, “No, you just can’t put something on your phone if it’s a medical device. What if it doesn’t work right? We have to approve it first.” …what’s the harm in running apps past the regulators? …There’s a big cost to the public when companies submit applications and then wait years for FDA approval. “We’re losing time, precious time that lives are dependent upon,” Emord said. “MIM Software developed a simple mobile device that would combine MRI images, PET scans, CAT scans all together and produce a super image that was better for diagnosis … right on your phone. To get that through the agency, it took two and a half years and cost some hundreds of thousands of dollars. All the while it could have been in use, and ultimately it was approved.” Lawyers and reporters encourage bureaucrats to move slowly. If something goes wrong, the media make a huge fuss about it, and the class-action parasites pounce. But when the FDA delays a device for years and people die, we don’t report that. We don’t even know who the victims are. Useful HIV drugs were available in Europe for years before the FDA approved them for use here. A doctor at the Cleveland Clinic invented a medical app that helped physicians calibrate the amount of radiation to give to women with breast cancer. The FDA demanded so much extra and expensive proof of its safety that he abandoned it. The FDA’s caution leads many companies to just give up on potentially lifesaving ideas. Yet I don’t hear companies complaining. “If you raise your head above the parapet and you become vocal in your criticism, the FDA remembers like an elephant and will stamp you out of existence. They’ll punish you. It’s so much discretion in their hands. They sit like emperors reigning over this stuff.”

I used to think it was bad news that politicians wanted to force us to use inferior light bulbs, substandard washing machines, and toilets that don’t flush properly.

But now that they’re regulating us to death, maybe people will get upset.

P.S. The prize for the craziest bit of red tape still belongs to Japan, where the government actually regulates providers of coffee enemas.

December 3 Addendum:

This Mark Perry Venn Diagram is a welcome addition to this column.

You can enjoy other Mark Perry Venn Diagrams here, here, here, and here.

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Given what is happening is Europe, this Henry Payne cartoon seems very appropriate.

Speaking of Greek cartoons, this one has generated plenty of laughs.

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