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

“What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long.”     Thomas Sowell

November 28, 2007

John Edwards Doesn’t Trust The FDA

by Brad Warbiany

He won’t tell you this, though. In fact, he wants you to believe he’s here to help you, as part of the “other” America. But in fact, when he fights against advertising for drugs that have passed FDA certification on “safety” grounds, he’s implicitly telling you that he doesn’t believe the FDA is certifying drug safety:

Can we give John Edwards a taste of his own medicine?

One of the nostrums the Edwards presidential campaign proposes is a two-year ban on advertising for prescription drugs. Even if a drug makes it through the FDA’s hurdles, Edwards wants to prohibit the drug company from telling you about it for two more years.

Why this assault on First Amendment rights? Edwards says it’s to “prevent television ads from driving consumers to drugs that haven’t been proven safe.”

I’m sure my fellow libertarian bloggers will attack Edwards as being an opponent of freedom of speech, and generally willing to substitute his own opinion for ours. In fact, I assume that if the healthcare plan Kevin posted about were to get passed, Edwards would personally determine what drugs you need to take and then hire federal marshals to forcibly administer them. But that’s just the kind-hearted sort of guy he is.

What I’d rather focus on is his implicit acknowledgment of a fact that we are all painfully aware: the FDA is not exactly a foolproof gateway certifying drug safety. Of course, expecting them to be foolproof is something only a fool would do. Prescription drugs are all unsafe to various degrees. But the FDA assumes that the power to determine exactly what level of danger is acceptable resides within their walls.

John Edwards is suggesting that drugs should be available to patients before they’re proven safe, and those patients should be the guinea pigs of testing before the manufacturers are allowed to advertise the drugs. If that’s the case, what use is the FDA? If John Edwards believes the FDA doesn’t do an adequate job of certifying drug safety, why don’t we allow individuals to choose what level of danger they find personally acceptable?

If taking away our freedom through the FDA isn’t actually keeping us safe, Edwards would never give us the freedom to determine for ourselves what is safe. After all, he thinks we’re simply sheep, being “driven” to pharmaceuticals because we saw them on TV. You really want to know what Edwards thinks of you?

I love the ads,” a sarcastic Edwards told voters at a town hall meeting at Rundlett Middle School in Concord. “Buy their medicine, take it and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

The message is: “you’re too dumb to think for yourself, so let me do it for you”. It’s a sad day when the candidate who actually has principles and ideas languishes in the polls, while the charlatans like Edwards who unabashedly pander to the lowest common denominator are polling at 23% in Iowa.

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9 Comments

  1. Damn,

    And here I was thinking that FDA was too strict. The FDA is too lenient? Does he want the drug prices to rise even more? What the hell?

    Comment by TanGeng — November 28, 2007 @ 6:02 pm
  2. I normally would make some crack about not seeing all the drug ads because I am too busy dodging the trial lawyer/ambulance chaser commercials, but I have to think both are pretty prominent. Amazing how the “Hurt in a car accident?” or “Been injured on the job and workman’s comp isn’t coming through?” or my favorite, “We fight the IRS and win” ads never seem to bother Mr. Edwards. Could my cynical reason of him defending trial lawyers be correct? I guess so.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — November 28, 2007 @ 8:14 pm
  3. It already takes long enough to get through bureaucratic hoops, and he wants to delay it further? Since when does Mr. Big Government become wary of government?

    Comment by David Wilson — November 28, 2007 @ 8:34 pm
  4. I am amazed at the complete lack of understanding about what John Edwards policy on this actually is. It isn’t that difficult to follow and it isn’t even close to this interpretation.

    Comment by mary13L — November 28, 2007 @ 8:48 pm
  5. Pray, tell me what John Edwards policy is. I am looking at his site right now, and it looks pretty socialist to me. Nothing like forcing people into agreements, right?

    Comment by David Wilson — November 28, 2007 @ 8:52 pm
  6. How is a plan where insurance companies compete in “health markets” that also have a government plan as one of the options socialist?

    I can understand anyone disagreeing with the plan, itself, although I agree with it. But I don’t understand how the plan can be so misunderstood or misinterpreted.

    Comment by mary13L — November 28, 2007 @ 9:55 pm
  7. I’m afraid I posted to the wrong thread re: health coverage. Sorry. I am still lost on what you are saying about this topic. The only delay would be in the advertising of the drug. Do you remember how it worked before drug companies were allowed to advertise?

    Comment by mary13L — November 28, 2007 @ 10:08 pm
  8. Thanks for starting out my day with a chuckle. This has to be the silliest anti-Edwards piece I’ve seen yet. Do you really believe such things or are you just trying to convince others? LOL

    Comment by pmorlan — November 29, 2007 @ 4:32 am
  9. Mary,

    John Edwards’ policy is ‘you will do what I say’. That’s basically it. As was pointed out in Kevin’s thread, his remark regarding people who didn’t want to participate in his plan is “You don’t get that choice.” He believes that he and others in Washington are the ones that should make your healthcare decisions.

    I’m opposed to any plan, devised in Washington, that tells me what I have to do with my health coverage. I’m opposed to any plan that implies that Washington bureaucrats are more able to make choices about my life than I am, and backs that implication up with force.

    Did I stretch the hyperbole on this post? Sure. A little hyperbole makes for more interesting reading.

    But the key fact is that John Edwards doesn’t respond to things such as the Vioxx debacle by wondering what’s wrong with the FDA and fixing it, he decides to add an extra layer of government regulation on top of it to downplay the impact of the failures that already exist.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — November 29, 2007 @ 7:52 am

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