We want safe foods and drugs. But should we want the Food and Drug Administration? Or more regulation from it?
We can use third-party investigations of the nature and effects of pharmaceuticals; but a government agency doing the investigating sure has its drawbacks. The bureaucracy’s coercive regulations and costly mandates should certainly not trump individual judgments about whether one may use a drug.
The FDA exists, however, and its massive presence in modern medicine isn’t going away any time soon. Luckily, some of its decisions are better than others. And now that it has authorized sale of the painkiller Zohydro ER, we can say it made the right call here.
The rightness of the decision is highlighted rather than contradicted by mounting political pressure to reverse it.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican, are among those demanding that Zohydro be outlawed. Their main complaint seems to be that the drug’s very effectiveness makes it more addictive, and more prone to abuse, than other painkillers. Officeholders from 29 states have chimed in to demand a ban.
I don’t know the ratio of benefits to risks in taking this drug. I know that if I’m writhing in pain, and other painkillers can’t do much to alleviate it, but Zohydro ER can, I want the freedom to decide for myself whether the benefits are worth the risks.
We have the right to make such decisions about our own lives.
In the meantime, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg deserves credit for resisting political demands that the agency rescind its approval.
My prescription for her? Don’t back down.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.