No, I’m not speaking on the 100+ million people that governments have killed outside of wars in about the past century, but rather the hidden deaths that nefariously are often not linked directly to government policy and action.
Recently, the supreme court ruled in favor of denying terminally ill patients who have exhausted all available treatments the right to access experimental treatments not yet approved by the FDA. The drug, Erbitux, that the plaintiff, Abigail Burroughs, was attempting to gain access to was approved by the FDA in 2006. Unfortunately for Abigail, she succumbed to head and neck cancer and passed in 2001.
Indeed, Abigail's story is not unique. Thousands die every year waiting for FDA approvals of drugs that may have saved them.
A popular cry is then, "But if not for the FDA and other agencies, who will protect the consumer?" Milton Friedman correctly explains that the market protects consumers. John Stossel explains how the FDA could play a useful role as a consumer advocate, but that its monopoly status and the ban on non-approved treatments leave consumers far worse off.
There is a new protectionist waive filling media buzz as a result of the recent recalls on Chinese products. Pundits and everyday folks are sounding off on the need for further regulation of foreign products. Edward Snyder explains how the free market is still the best regulator and defender the consumer has.
Government regulation destroys the competitiveness that brings about innovation and progress for the consumer. It also destroys our individual autonomy to do actions that do not negatively affect others, making us less free and worse off. If government action should be designed to make us more free, this would seem irrational. Why shouldn't an individual have the right to take a non-approved drug when all other possibilities are exhausted? The negative consequences of an unapproved drug fall directly upon the user, who, without additional options, is likely doomed regardless. FDA regulation kills many for every few that are saved, made worse by the fact that the FDA need not have monopoly status. Businesses use regulation from consumer protection agencies to stifle competition, doing the consumer more harm than good through regulation.
It’s simply another example of the unintended consequences of government, where agencies devoted to helping consumers end up ultimately hurting.