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Paul Abrams

Paul Abrams

Posted: July 13, 2010 08:56 AM

A Question for the GOP & Tea Partiers: Should We Abolish (or Severely Weaken) the FDA?

What's Your Reaction:

Congressional Republicans were all aflutter because Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a 2000+ page bill, and it regulates, albeit rather weakly as it turned out, 16% of the economy.

Card-carrying congressional loons such as Michele Bachmann have called it slavery.

Rush Limbaugh said he would move to Costa Rica if it passed. He is still here so one suspects Costa Rica would not have him.

If these freedom-loving 'patriots' do not like healthcare reform because it is an imposition on liberty and the free market, and it regulates 16% of the economy, what could they possibly think about the powers of the Food and Drug Administration?


- It strictly regulates the manufacture and sale of food, drugs and cosmetics.
- It determines what a manufacturer must prove, and with what evidence, before a product can be marketed. If it does not like the study the manufacturer has performed, it can require it to be changed and re-done, prior to allowing the product to be marketed.
- It sets strict safety standards, inspects private (yikes!) industry manufacturing plants, imposes fines (e.g., Genzyme just paid $175M) for unsafe practices, and can ask prosecutors to indict violators who, upon conviction, could go to jail.
- With the stroke of a pen, it can force a company to remove its product from the market.
- It can force a company to take remedial actions that will cost the company money and time (and do not need to apologize to the company for doing it!).
- It pre-approves what assertions a manufacturer may make about its product.
- It can force companies to put labels on their products.
- The economic activity it strictly regulates constitutes ~30% of our economy.

This is 'nanny-state' writ large. How can a conservative live, how can she breathe, how can he feel free, with such a burdensome federal agency?

So, Republicans/Tea Partiers--should we eliminate or severely weaken the FDA's regulatory authority?

Imagine if such regulation had not been previously established, and major outbreaks of contaminated food, contaminated drugs, ineffective drugs, failed implanted devices and scarring cosmetics had accumulated over 50 years, and one party--the Democrats--had decided enough was enough in 2009, and introduced the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The above would have been just the beginning of the Republicans'/Tea Partiers' list of horribles. Because that list accurately describes what is in the act, it would only have been their starting point. I am not sure what lies they would have concocted to embellish it, but I am certain they would. After all, Betsy McCaughey needs something to lie about.

So Republicans/Tea Partiers: do you trust the safety of the food you eat to "voluntary industry regulation"? What about drugs and medical devices--should private industry be allowed to make any claims they wish about the safety and effectiveness of the sleeping medication you take at night, or the asthma medication your kids use while at school? Or, for that matter, the anti-nausea medications you take when you are pregnant? Should drug companies be allowed to put 10 milligrams in a pill, when it is only effective if a patient takes 50 milligrams, saving itself 80% of the raw materials' cost? Should the defibrillator in Dick Cheney's heart have been subject to government-mandated safety or performance standards prior to its insertion?

Yes or No?

Can you live with the federal government regulating, strictly regulating, and probably with more than 2000 pages of regulation, 30% of the private economy? Wouldn't the drug and device companies' profits disappear overnight, and jobs be decimated?

For that matter, how can it be that the drug industry is so heavily regulated and yet, and yet... is among the more profitable sectors of the economy? How is that even possible in your world view?

C'mon, Newtie. You have an appointment scheduled with god in February to find out if he tells you to run for President. Shouldn't we, shouldn't HE, know in advance if you would nuke the FDA? What about carpet-bombing it with your conventional language of destruction, aka lying? I know you dodged the draft (bum knee, right?, I think it was Rush who had the pilonidal cyst, or do I have this ass-backwards?), but you sure know how to use tough-guy rhetoric.

Tell us. How can any conservative Republican or Tea Partier feel free with 30% of the US economy being so strictly regulated? How?

C'mon Michele, Rand, Sharon, Nikki, Carly...

Instead of attacking healthcare reform--a weak regulatory law for only 16% of the economy (swatting at 'gnats' as Condi Rice put it as she defended ignoring al-Qaeda for the USS Cole bombing pre-9/11; or an "ant" as John Boehner calls the financial meltdown)--why not take down the FDA and go for the big enchilada? Now, that would be "a big f*kg deal".

And, if perchance, Republicans/Tea Partiers conjure a rationale for the FDA's powers from the vapors of health, safety, confidence, then why should we leave our financial health (in many cases a person's entire life's work) to the whims of large banks, or our planet's health to the machinations of big energy companies?

That is, should not the general public, exercising collective power through government (and, that is all government is in a democracy), serve as a balance, a "counterveiling power" as Galbraith called it, to big business?

Or, do you trust your lives, your health, your sacred fortunes, the planet your children will inherit, purely to the self-interest of corporations?

Perhaps all you need do is cut their taxes, and all will be well...