Regulating Drugs

Lots of good stuff on FDA history from the Independent Institute, including this:

The FDA suppression of information concerning vitamin E and heart attacks, for example, may rank alongside its suppression of information concerning aspirin as one of the most deadly regulations of the post–World War II era.

Hat tip to Robin Hanson (Overcoming Bias blog).

Comments (4)

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  1. Ken says:

    Raising the obvious question: Why do we need an FDA?

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    Patients take for granted that a doctor’s visit is a prerequisite to get a prescription before beginning drug therapy. Few people realize the Durham-Humphrey Amendment only created a distinction between over-the-counter and prescription-only drugs in 1951. It’s become institutionalized to the extent people assume physician gatekeepers are the only viable option. Yet nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and even pharmacists have the skills to assist patients with assessing drug therapies.

  3. Neil H. says:

    We should follow an approach that I think was originally made by Milton Friedman. Let the FDA certify drugs, but leave people free to make their own decisions about drug consumption.

  4. Larry C. says:

    I agree with Neil.