In Italy last week, where I holidayed, I also attended the ISIL conference with a great bunch of fellow libertarian conspirators, such as Kevin Dowd, Tom Palmer and Detlev Schlichter. One of the talks was by Mary Ruwart, who has worked for many years in the medical field and has first-hand knowledge of the destructive power of the US Food and Drugs Administration. She argued that the cost to life in terms of drugs and treatments that never got approved runs to several million people, far outweighing the likely number of deaths from drugs that might have dangerous side-effects.
As Ruwart said, one of the issues that comes up in any discussion about drugs are patents. She disapproves of them – she called the process of getting a patent a “game”; but at the same time she pointed out that if drug firms have no certainty of being able to recoup some of their research costs due to a patent, and those research costs are inflated by the FDA and other regulators, then abolishing patents without first removing such regulators would be bad. In my view, it would be disastrous.
I thought about her talk when I came across this rather lame article by the Economist, in which the publication wonders why US drugs are so expensive and why production of them has slowed. Wow, I wonder why that can be?
Update: the FDA has been carrying out an absurd attempt to hammer dietary supplements. US citizens who want to stop this nonsense can register their views at this site.