Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

October 28, 2007

John Edwards Wants To Censor The Medical Information You Receive

by Doug Mataconis

Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards is proposing that drug companies be prevented from informing the public of the possible beneficial effects of their products:

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says prescription drug companies should have to wait two years to begin advertising their new products to consumers.

Edwards on Sunday was outlining a plan to regulate what he views as a proliferation of misleading drug ads. In the decade since the government relaxed rules on advertising directly to consumers, spending on prescription drug ads has nearly quadrupled to more than $4 billion a year, he said in prepared remarks.

“With such aggressive and often misleading drug company marketing, it’s too easy for advertising — instead of doctors or proven results — to influence families’ health decisions,” Edwards said in excerpts of his speech provided to The Associated Press. “But the (Food and Drug Administration) has been an ineffective watchdog, reviewing only a small fraction of ads.

“It’s time to stand up to the drug companies and their lobbyists who have rigged the system. It’s time to stand strong for families, patients and doctors,” said Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina.

Besides the two-year delay on new-drug advertising, he would require drug companies to get FDA approval before launching major ad campaigns. He also would increase penalties for companies that violate truth-in-advertising laws and would require companies to disclose more information about a drug’s side effects and effectiveness compared to placebos and alternative drugs.

Because, you see, you’re too stupid to evaluate this information for yourself and you need a gatekeeper — whether it’s the government or your doctor — to tell you what to think.

Yet another example of the Nanny State paternalism that makes me conclude that there’s no hope for liberty in the Democratic Party.

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