Regs are the dregs

On June 10, the Federal Drug Administration dropped all regulations on the books requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose the contents of prescription and over-the counter drugs. In addition, the FDA will no longer require drug manufacturers to test their products to prove their effectiveness and safety before they are put on the market.

Labels warnings of possible side-effects will also no longer be required. FDA’s new marketing slogan will be: “From the drawing boards to the shelves.”

FDA Commissioner, I. M. Trustworthy explained recent legislation enabling this policy in this way: “As people, corporations are personally invested in consumer safety and are in a better position to ensure the best interests of its customers than are the intrusive, over-reaching and, ever-encroaching agencies of government. We need to move away from the unrealistic, time-consuming and costly standard of ‘prove-it-is-safe-before-we-allow-it’ to a more reasonable standard of “prove-it-is-doing-serious-damage-before-we-ban-it.’ Like individuals charged with a crime, the products we consume should be assumed to be innocent until they are proven guilty. We should abolish stupid government regulations that violate this principle.”

Commissioner Trustworthy added that his agency’s new regulatory approach is modeled after current practices in the gas-fracking industry. There, drillers are exempt from the provisions of the Clean Air and Water Act. The contents of fracking fluids are not required by law to be fully disclosed and fracking has long been allowed even though its full environmental impact has never been comprehensively examined. Nevertheless, industry sponsored studies have convincingly shown there is no scientific evidence that fracking causes serious damage to the environment. “The system has proven itself and has application to our work,” asserted Commissioner Trustworthy. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

So the FDA and the Department of Agriculture are now planning to adopt this new drug inspection model in carrying out its joint responsibility for ensuring food safety. Their 2014 plan will allow the meat packing industry to set its own standards and conduct and enforce safety inspections of cows, pigs, chickens and other meats entirely on their own without government oversight. Industry officials expect a largely disengaged public to acquiesce over time to these new drug and food inspection policies. They anticipate the same level of public outcry from consumers that they displayed in gradually acquiescing to the loosely regulated, but completely safe practices of the gas-fracking industry.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to propose similar legislation.

Tim Mannello


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