Make no mistake about it; the primary purpose of the FDA is to stop you from getting access to medicine that might save your life. Of course, a defender of leviathan would point out that what the FDA intends to do is to stop you from getting access to medicine that might kill you, but the latter is impossible without the former. While the FDA requires pharmaceutical companies to go through a multi-year approval process costing tens of millions of dollars, people continue to die from conditions that the drug they’re prevented from buying could have cured. People suffer pain that could be alleviated. The bureaucrats don’t care. The government never cares about you.
Unless you’re really well connected. Say, for example, you’re Princeton University and you have an outbreak of bacterial meningitis on your campus. Lives are at risk, here! And not just any lives, but the lives of rich people’s children! Our future overlords are in peril! Something must be done! But wait… the only available treatment is a vaccine from Europe that hasn’t been approved by the FDA. Oh well, I guess that’s that. We all know the FDA approval process is there for a good reason – to protect us. Surely they wouldn’t just randomly choose to ignore it simply because a highly public, visible, and well-connected group is at risk of a deadly infection…
Silly me, of course that’s exactly what they would do. It’s what government always does: Grant special favors to a protected class. The simple fact of the matter is that if you or I wanted the protection this drug offers from bacterial meningitis, we would be told “tough luck.” The experts have deemed it not sufficient for public purchase, so we aren’t allowed to have it. You know, for our own good. But for some reason, this logic and reasoning doesn’t apply to the students at Princeton. They are enlightened. Surely they are capable of weighing the risks and making an informed decision for themselves. (Note: As far as I can tell, no Princeton student will be forced to get this vaccine, they will literally be able to choose for themselves.) We don’t have to apply the normal rules to them. The FDA has been standing in the way of progress and condemning individuals to suffering and death for over a century, but they’re happy to “allow” this vaccine to be distributed by Princeton. The tone of this article is incredibly revealing. It’s as if medicine only exists because the government “allows” it to. As if we should be thankful. As if the FDA is the reason this vaccine can be provided, and they are the ones heroically saving the lives of those poor, defenseless students at Princeton.
What a joke. The reason this vaccine can be provided is because a private company wanted to make a lot of money, and they sacrificed a great deal of labor and capital into developing a product they intended to sell. The FDA does nothing but obstruct and get in the way of this process. They provide numerous roadblocks designed to slow it down and increase its cost, both of which are ultimately paid for in human lives (from those who couldn’t get access to the drug in time to save their lives) and higher prices (the companies don’t just eat the increased costs of development, they pass it on to you and me, once the drug is finally approved). Rather than celebrate the kind generosity of the FDA for granting a special favor to a privileged class, we should remind ourselves that it is a parasite, literally sucking the life out of our society in the name of economic control. It is the villain, not the hero, of this story.