The FDA: Monopoly Medicine

[Jon Henke]

Via Instapundit, Fight Aging says our regulatory system has perverse incentives...

There is no open marketplace for medical technology in the developed world, however. Instead, we see a very different set of incentives dominating the state of research and development. Regulatory bodies like the FDA have every incentive to stop the release of new medicine: the government employees involved suffer far more from bad press for an approved medical technology than they do from the largely unexamined consequences of heavy regulation.

These consequences go far beyond the obvious and announced disapproval of specific medical technologies: the far greater cost lies in all the research, innovation and development that was never undertaken because regulatory burdens ensure there would be no profit for the developer.

This brings up an interesting point. Many on the Left are outraged when they hear of some medical treatment being declined by a health insurance company or health care provider. But where is the outrage about the overwhelming number of medicines, treatments and devices that are delayed or declined each year by the FDA?

The health insurance companies and health care providers have competition. I can take my business elsewhere. Meanwhile, the FDA is a monopoly. With perverse incentives. Not the sort of thing the Left is usually anxious to defend.

There's a research project in this for some enterprising investigator.

  1. Find out how many medical treatments and procedures have been declined by health insurance companies and health care providers over the past 5 years.

  2. Contrast that with the potential medicines, procedures and devices that have been rejected, delayed or buried in regulatory tape, and the likely treatments and procedures those would have provided.

I would speculate that you'll find the unintended consequences of FDA regulations have had a far larger impact than the cumulative declined treatments of the health care industry.