Free Speech

Where Presidents Meddle With Your Television Set

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Starting last night, thanks to Le Prez Nicolas "Bling Bling" Sarkozy, France's four (count 'em!) national public television stations are now prohibited from broadcasting commercials between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Lest you think this is some kind of Hungaro-Gallic starve-the-beast ploy to get L'etat out of the TV biz, think again:

The government says the reforms will improve the quality of programming on public television by freeing it from "the tyranny of ratings" and it has pledged to make up for any shortfall in advertising revenues. […]

The reform creates a funding gap for public TV which will largely be filled by a levy on private broadcasters and Internet providers and by government support.

The 2009 budget includes 450 million euros to compensate for the loss of revenue[.]

The usual protest strikes are scheduled, etc.

Note: French households currently pay 116 Euros a year (newly indexed to inflation) for the privilege of owning a television set. Also, as every French journalist is quick to tell you in conversation, Sarko is close personal friends with the heads of various private television honchos and other media owners, and has been cruder than his predecessor in using that influence to quash stories and reward allies; neither of which has ever proven particularly difficult in France. And, as part of the same law banning ads, the president will now have the direct ability (instead of merely the indirect ability) to hire and fire heads of state-owned media.

NEXT: No One Better Than Ezra

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  1. I can understand why people watch CNN. This is depressing.

  2. Hey, I value my freedom to watch terrible mind-insulting advertisements!

    This is worse than when those pesky liberals took away my freedom to buy food that will kill me, drugs that will make me sicker, and enter into work contracts in which I’m treated in an inhumane way!

  3. Yep, that’s all this will be used for, MNG. The beneficent rulers know what is best.

  4. Sarkozy has also moved to ban blog-trolls. Internet accounts will be billed an additional 75 Euros annually to rid the web of the ubiquitous pests. Hell threatens to go on strike.

  5. Yo, fuck Sarkozy. On the other hand, it is, as always, hard to feel bad for the French.

  6. MNG,

    Considering some studies have estimated (its tricky to figure out real numbers) that the FDA has easily killed more people thru delays than it has saved from keeping bad drugs off the market, I do oppose not having the freedom to buy the drugs that will make me sicker.

    You also sound like the Drug Czar saying that.

  7. Still, they are much better off compared with the Italians…

  8. “the tyranny of ratings”

    Thats a nice touch.

  9. robc
    You really believe that if there were no FDA, and anyone could sell anything as anything to any sick and ‘willing’ person, that less people would be die than a system in which medical products have to pass a rigorous test before they can be bought and sold?

    You don’t need no study to see that’s wacky crazy.

    Let me ask you this: if alcohol were completely unregulated, anyone could call anything whatever alcohol they want and anyone could buy it, you really think less people would get sick from buying funky alchohol?

    Wowza.

  10. There’s no shortage of people who would try to turn a quick buck by selling something dubious at best.

    And a ton of people who are stupid enough to buy it (have you been to a 7-11 late at night or a Motor Vehicles Administration during the day lately?).

  11. This is just one of the many unintended consequenses of the Bush Jr. years. Fiscal irresponsibility here keeps the Euro strong against the Dollar.

    That means Europeans think they matter, and that their wacky economics will yield a superior culture, where nobody has to work, get sick, or grow old, and the grass gets greener, air and water get cleaner, and mother earth nestles them all in her ample bosom.

  12. I mean, how quickly do cures that are not passing the FDA come out?

    Because I know how quickly people would be willing to sell dubious stuff to sick people. Much more common.

  13. MNG,
    You’re right, except alcohol (outside of the St. Bernard pass) does not really save lives, so regulation of alcohol does not keep potential life-saving material away from people.

  14. MNG,

    Companies dont like getting sued out of business.

    A requirement of bonding and insurance to cover lawsuits would be more than enough to prevent the drug companies from maliciously releasing drugs on to the market.

    But, the studies have been done, look them up. If you dont like them, do a counter study and get it published too.

  15. MNG,

    Do you not realize how many people have died due to drug delays? The numbers you are talking about are TINY compared to the number of people who would have been saved if beta blockers hadnt been delayed for 10 years.

  16. “as part of the same law banning ads, the president will now have the direct ability (instead of merely the indirect ability) to hire and fire heads of state-owned media.”

    MNG are you really so liberal that you can not see the problem here?

  17. Will government-sponsored public interest infomercials be banned?

  18. Has anyone here ever watched French TV? I haven’t. But I know Euro standards on nudity and sex tend to be lower (or as Urkobold would say: “better”) and prime-time TV in Italy is almost all sexually oriented.

    Is this the case in France? Is it all “Double Shot At Love” and no “Touched By an Angel?”

  19. Still, they are much better off compared with the Italians…

    When I was reading the original post, I got the impression that Sarkozy was actually taking some cues from Berlusconi.

  20. robc
    Those studies are’nt in the Cato Journal of Ideas or the Von Mises Institute of Austrian stuff are they? Because that kind of stuff really doesn’t count.

    But like I said, this is one of the areas where ordinary common sense is all that is needed.

    Companies that don’t like getting sued out of business get sued out of business all the time. They do it to make a quick buck sometimes. People are irrational like that quite a bit.

    And besides, no FDA means you don’t have to be some company with R&D and such, Grandpa’s Home Cancer Elixir and such could go out on every street corner. And try suing every cheap con artist to control con artistry. Blood and turnips.

    This is like saying “companies would never cheat their customers because they don’t want to lose them.” Of course cheating customers never occurs, right? Or “companies will never break moral or legal codes because the bad press and the lawsuits will blah blah.” Of course companies never break moral and legal codes, right?

    C’mon robc.

  21. More like “Touched by two girls lapping tongues” Abdul.

    Kunal
    Ys, but the alcohol regulation does keep things from being sold as non-healthy alcohol that is actually much more dangerous substance x, y and z.

  22. Jim Bob and his home still of swill, what’s to stop him from selling his dangerous wares as 100% Safe and Yummy Liquor and Cough Syrup and Cancer Reliever?

    The threat of lawsuits? Insurance requirements?

    You’re killing me.

  23. MNG,

    The one I saw was peer reviewed.

    Looking some stuff up, I havent found it yet, but some references that I remember (the beta blocker one for example).

    The regulatory delay of propranolol may have caused more deaths than all deaths caused BY drugs in the 20th century.

    It was only delayed 3 years. The FDA was criticized for clearing it too quickly.

    That is one drug. One. I get your point, but the fact is fraud drug deaths are very, very small comparatively.

    1000 individual cases of fraud causing 10 deaths each can easily get swamped by one drug being delayed. People are very bad at judging relative risk. I would have never believed this either before reading the study a few years back.

  24. Obviously there are lots of unscrupulous folks out there.
    MNG appears to believe that there are fewer such folk in government, or that they are somehow changed for the better by getting their hands on government power.
    But I could be wrong.

  25. Companies dont like getting sued out of business.

    Most naive statement ever.

    Especially when one considers bankruptcy and limited liability and the ability of many of these large companies to get the laws changed to protect/limit them from liability.

  26. You’re killing me.

    There is a drug that will prevent that, but it is still in trials. Tough luck.

  27. Tom,

    Especially when one considers bankruptcy and limited liability and the ability of many of these large companies to get the laws changed to protect/limit them from liability.

    They do that because they dont like getting sued out of business. My statement stands, you just helped prove it.

  28. I mean “companies” are funded by people with limited liability and run by folks with the same.

    They go belly up from stupid decisions all the time. Regulations are meant to keep some of those stupid decisions from killing folks.

    It’s just human nature man.

  29. I will also add that the FDA is a corrupt organization as well (consider how many former drug company execs become members) that is politically influenced (look at the Plan-B bullshit) and is just as corruptible ()

  30. Jim Bob and his home still of swill, what’s to stop him from selling his dangerous wares as 100% Safe and Yummy Liquor and Cough Syrup and Cancer Reliever?

    MNG, have you ever been in a GNC store or the natural supplements section of Whole Foods? I haven’t heard of any crisis of people dropping dead from fake medicines with pictures of plants and flowers on them.

  31. Robc
    Of course they don’t LIKE being sued out of business, but I think Tom’s point was that the prospects of it are not always enough to keep them from doing something stupid and harmful (even ultimately to their own bottom line). Especially since even “rational self interested” humans often seem to calculate very badly their likelihood of getting busted or of horrible consequences in general (the field of behavioral economics deals with this all the time).

  32. They do that because they dont like getting sued out of business. My statement stands, you just helped prove it.

    I agree that they don’t like getting sued. But that wasn’t your point, was it robc?

    Where we disagree is that you believe that because they don’t like being sued that will motivate them to be a good actor and to make a safe product.

    But that isn’t true.

  33. MNG,

    Regulations are meant to keep some of those stupid decisions from killing folks.

    But when the regulation actually has the opposite effect?

    Maybe time to change the regulation? Look, Im all in favor of preventing fraud. That is why I suggested the insurance regulation. If an insurer wont touch the drug, you cant release it. Heck, insurers may require testing as strenuous as the FDA, but I doubt it. As far as I know, the UL has a better reputation than the FDA.

  34. Hey! What we need are better regulations! Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?

  35. Where we disagree is that you believe that because they don’t like being sued that will motivate them to be a good actor and to make a safe product.

    But that isn’t true.

    It would be (mostly) true if we also prevent them from influencing government. If we are going to get rid of one corrupt government org (the FDA), we cant let them run to another (congress) for help.

    There will always be bad actors. But they are dwarfed by the problems the FDA causes the good actors.

  36. CN,

    I wasnt so much suggesting better regulations as much as a strict liability standard. Whether that is a regulation or not, I wont judge.

    In a minarchy, regulations (however few) will exist. That is the price anti-anarchists have to pay. It sucks, but Im realistic about it.

  37. robc,
    I’d gladly support and work to achieve fewer, clearer regulations in just about any area, although that probably would lose me my Anarchist Society membership card.
    Oh wait…

  38. Dietary supplements are still regulated by the FTC and the FDA, they just don’t have to go through the same review process before hitting the market. And there is a definition as to what falls under this kind of stuff.

  39. Robc
    “But when the regulation actually has the opposite effect?”

    I agree with you here robc, I’m not for the regulation for the sake of regulation. Really.

    And it’s an empirical question, you’re absolutely right: if the FDA regulations are doing more harm than good then something else needs to be tried.

    And perhaps they are doing more harm than good. It’s just I find that to be incredible given what I know about incentives, human nature and their self-interested and sometimes less than completely rational mindsets.

    Your insurance option doesn’t sound that terrible to me to be honest. I do think that private insurance companies, even with their bottom lines and reputations (which matter because of the bottom line) at stake, could be very corrputible to make some zany decisions (like how private stock analyst firms rated the risks of certain securities in a zany way recently, or how some private insurance firms rated the same securities).

  40. But given human nature and self-interest, aren’t the regulators just as corruptible, MNG?

  41. You want strict liability on all that stuff? Food and supplements and such too? Not a lower standard (say negligence)?

    robc, I’ll be honest, here’s the problem I see with letting tort standards replace regulations. Torts don’t kick in until after people have been harmed, regulations can kick in prior.

    Now don’t get me wrong, the mere existence of the after-the-fact tort is supposed to provide some deterrent effect for future acts. But I’m not sure it always does because people often calculate badly as to whether they will get caught, and people often seem to act with an amazing disregard for likely future consequences even if they know they will follow!

  42. Citizen
    Don’t you think the incentive structure is different? Sure, if the regulators are being straight up bribed then there is this economic incentive, and their are bizarre ways bureaucracy effects the minds of otherwise rational actors, but the seller of a ware has a very strong incentive to make bucks quickly. Your solution is to put the decision as to what goes on the market solely in the hands of the latter.

  43. I should point out that insurance decision makers can be straight up bribed too. The loss of profits and job is supposed to fight this (if I insure something via a bribe and the thing ends up going bad and we now have to cover the costs the company goes out of business), but look at how management and ownership is split in companies and the limited liability there and other corporate forms. Managers can be personally bribed and screw the possible results to “the company” and get away pretty.

    So you see private organizations have a lot of perils here too. It’s not just a case of perfect rational private organizations versus these nutty evil bureaucracies with no incentive to be rational (bureaucrats actually do lose their jobs, perks, etc., all the time and politicians do to).

  44. MNG,

    And perhaps they are doing more harm than good. It’s just I find that to be incredible given what I know about incentives, human nature and their self-interested and sometimes less than completely rational mindsets.

    Its basic math, really. Its hard to kill 10k people with a bad drug. They are gonna figure it out well before that point. Its actually easy to save 10k people with a good drug. In the right area.

    I finally found a page that went thru a bunch of different studies (mixed of peer reviewed and the Cato type you dont like. More of the first). It appears the estimates are that FDA regs save about 500-1000 lives a year. Delay estimates range from 2k to 12k lost lives a year.

    For a handful of drugs, there were estimates of 10k lost lives per year.

    10000 people a year is a hard standard to overcome.

  45. The buyer of a ware also has a very strong incentive to purchase high-quality goods.

    You are assuming that the government regulators, or at least the majority of them, are on the side of the buyer and not the seller – or are at least neutral. And that government regulators will do a better job of providing information concerning those wares to the buyer than would some other provider.

    I think otherwise.

  46. MNG,

    I wasnt trying to use legal terminology, so maybe strict liability isnt the term I was looking for. Lets call it strong liability to avoid specific legal terms.

    Probably negligent liability is the right level, but I dont want them to get off easy because they didnt test first. But, if they are pushing it as experimental and you are already dying and it offs you faster, well, there probably shouldnt be much liability there, if any at all.

    So, whatever standard that is.

  47. I kinda figger that people who are dumb enough to kill themselves with medicine that is unsafe is a feature, not a bug, with getting rid of the FDA.

    I’m serious. I shed no tears for junkies, frat boys who drink themselves to death on their 21st birthday or somebody who hasn’t the good sense to either research drugs they are taking or gettoing expert advice from a trusted source.

    Getting rid of the FDA will provide more material for this website and help clean the gene pool at the same time.

    Of course some would rather trust our benevolent elected overlords (preferably Democrats) like Spitzer, Blagojevich and Richardson* and those they appoint, who are far more concerned about “the people” than their own desires.

    * Hey! He’s only a suspect! It’s not like he’s been convicted or anything!

  48. robc

    linky?

    Here is another reason I’m skeptical.

    Where do they get their estimate of the number of dangerous products that would enter the market sans FDA and the damage they will do? I mean, where would it come from (how can we know how many people will introduce how many dangerous products and how dangerous they will be since this has been prevented by the FDA for decades now)?

    Because it just seems to me the number of people willing to cheat other people is enormous.

    As you qualify “In the right area.”

    People are going to be able to introduce unsafe products into every imaginable area sans FDA.

  49. Citizen
    As I said, the field of behavioral economics is rife with what a poor job consumers can do in estimating dangers and benefits. Sometimes more neutral thinking is needed to get it right.

    As I mention there are all kinds of ways private suppliers of information can go wrong (corporate entanglements for example, or principal/agent problems you probably are aware of). In some of these areas government experts, bad as they are, can actually be more right on.

  50. what the fuck does this have to do with public television?

  51. MNG,

    Where do they get their estimate of the number of dangerous products that would enter the market sans FDA and the damage they will do?

    Europeans countries get drugs to the market much faster than the US. I think the estimates are based on the differences in dangers due to the US for EU time lag.

    They arent comparing to NO FDA (although there were some comparisons to pre-1962 FDA*), but to the european equivalents.

    People are going to be able to introduce unsafe products into every imaginable area sans FDA.

    Well, my argument has only been about the D part of the FDA. Get rid of the FDA is code for drug company testing, not food and other areas. Thats a different argument altogether (I take the same position, but I may not have the numbers to back me up).

    *Kefauver-Harris Bill, as mentioned yesterday, good things never come from Kefauver

  52. Given the often heard hostility to tort law from libertarian circles I hope you guys will cut me some slack if I say that I’m a less than convinced when libertarians tell me that regulation is not needed because we have tort law to do that job! But I don’t think every libertarian feels that way or needs to, just saying.

    J sub
    I think that’s crazy to be frank. I mean, you would feel no pity for little old ladies in pain who don’t properly research drugs that then harm them? The elderly would be a big part of those who are harmed here (who takes more pills and is more the target of cons and why)?

    But I will say that most people, including myself, could not properly ensure their safety through this research you speak of. What are you talking about, looking up info online about a product and its provider? Or going through a private information source (remember again, some of the most likely to make bad decisions on their own would be the least likely to afford this)? Everyone is going to be able to navigate through the various subsidiaries and corporate name changes and mergers and product swaps and know all about everything they are taking, and do this for every medication, food, cosmetic, etc they buy (remember the FDA regulates more than just life saving medecines)? I don’t buy that for a second…

  53. Link I found today:

    http://www.fdareview.org/harm.shtml

    References used in the page above, so you can make your appeals to anti-authority (anti-Cato arguments):

    http://www.fdareview.org/references.shtml#peltzman73

  54. “They arent comparing to NO FDA (although there were some comparisons to pre-1962 FDA*), but to the european equivalents.”

    Well my goodness but that is a big qualifier!

  55. MNG,

    Given the often heard hostility to tort law from libertarian circles

    WTF? We think it is one of the few legit areas of government. I think punitive judgments are abused, but that is easily fixable by not allowing the plantiff or lawyer to get a cut of the punitive damages.

  56. MNG,

    Well my goodness but that is a big qualifier!

    Not really, that is what they have to compare with. They also compare pre to post 1962 FDA, which is when the big changes occurred.

  57. robc
    You are aware that this listing is certainly not a comprehensive or even random listing of all the evaluations of the efficacy of the FDA but most probably (given its source) a collection (after quite a hunt I would bet) of all the articles that are anti-FDA? In fact, as it is a references page and not every footnoted claim in the article even purports to be a damning finding about the FDA it is even less than that…

    You can’t evaluate whether this is representative of the findings of most peer reviewed looks at this subject so this is pretty bad to rely on really.

  58. I mean, you would feel no pity for little old ladies in pain who don’t properly research drugs that then harm them?

    Just as much as I do the little old ladies in pain who can’t get drugs that will help them, because of the FDA/DEA.

  59. I should point out that prior to the modern FDA, both the evil AMA and the slightly less evil ( 😉 ) Consumer’s Union performed drug safety testing. While these organizations’ had great weight, people weren’t bound by law to obey their dictates. It is that loss of freedom which I personally rail against.

    The agency that became the FDA was the Federal Chemical Board which did do very valuable scientific work in developing techniques for assaying mixtures in the early 20th century.

    Incidentally, the trigerring event for the creation of the FDA was a pretty disastrous decision by Massengil to use anti-freeze as a solvent for a drug. They killed a few hundred people before people put 2 and 2 together, and Massengil lost all their customers, had to pay out huge judgements and was reduced to a shadow of its former self and the guys responsible committed suicide to atone for their crime of stupidity.

  60. robc
    Are you going to tell me that tort reform is not a big thing in libertarian circles?

    Or that tort reform doesn’t involve having less teeth in tort law (yes, yes, it aims for wiser teeth, but it certainly involves things like lower standards for liability, limiting damages, etc., which are “less teeth”)?

    It’s kind of like saying: “we don’t need that Doberman on the grounds because we have a perfectly good Pit Bull. In other news, we hate that fucking Pit Bull.”

  61. given its source

    Ha! I knew I could count on you.

  62. J sub
    I think that’s crazy to be frank. I mean, you would feel no pity for little old ladies in pain who don’t properly research drugs that then harm them?

    Because under the presently highly regulated medicinal drug system in the US elderly patient never get poisoned by their prescriptions, right?

    I’ll raise that with chemo patients, AIDS sufferers, etc. who are still fucking waiting for FDA approval of medicinal marijuana? You’d think enough research has been done on the efficacy and safety of reefer by now, wouldn’t you?

    It all about serving humanity and protecting us from our own incompetence, right?

  63. Are you going to tell me that tort reform is not a big thing in libertarian circles?

    That is exactly what Im saying. Most of us prefer tort to regulation. We just think lawyers are scum. I dont see the contradiction.

  64. Talking to RC is always such a waste of one’s time (I think I’m supposed to be filtered anyway), but I hope he sees that I’m talking about the situation created by having the old lady in question be the one to figure out what is safe and what is not.

  65. MNG,

    caveat emptor.

    We shoulda put that in the fucking constitution.

  66. Most of us prefer a vastly weakened tort system to regulation.

    Fixed that for you.

    J sub
    The FDA doesn’t prevent the sale of medical marijuana, the criminal laws of the federal government do. I oppose those laws with a passion, btw.

  67. I thought there were 4 1/2 or so. Isn’t channel 5 shared with Germany?

  68. Most of us prefer a vastly weakened tort system to regulation.

    Wrong.

    I think you are confusing libertarians with conservatives.

  69. “caveat emptor.”

    You and J sub are under the impression that you and your loved ones would be the wily consumer that avoids the trouble.

    No offense but I doubt that (really no offense, I don’t think I would be either).

    I bet right now that if we had an expert on contract law ask all three of us questions about how well we understand, say, our current cell phone contracts or insurance contracts he’d find us pretty wanting.

    But we are supposed to be counted on to track down and process all the relevant scientific and corporate information that would be necessary to make a really informed decision on EVERY food and drug product that we and our loved ones use? And if we make a mistake then caveat emptor?

    That’s crazy, man.

    Are you kidding?

  70. Back on topic –
    As much as I like to bitch, I have to admit the US has it all over the rest of the world when it comes to telecommunications regulations and taxes. We have lot’s less and still produce far more popular programming than any place else in the solar system.

    Not near as much boring opera on the airwaves though.

  71. robc
    Go to libertarian think tanks.

    Search for “tort reform.”

  72. MNG,

    but most probably (given its source) a collection (after quite a hunt I would bet) of all the articles that are anti-FDA

    While glancing thru another article in the same section, I found this happens to not be the case. A number of the listed articles are pro-FDA. OR, actually, anti, in that they are criticizing the FDA for not taking enough time.

    This one, for example:

    Willman, David. 2000. How a New Policy Led to Seven Deadly Drugs. Los Angeles Times, Dec. 20.

  73. MNG,

    You and J sub are under the impression that you and your loved ones would be the wily consumer that avoids the trouble.

    I dont know JsubD, but I know me and my loved ones. Im smarter than that. I know we arent the wily consumers.

    Are you kidding?

    You did see my insurance and liability comments, right?

  74. hit and run time…

    Television advertising to minors should be banned because it harms their developing brains and poisons the culture. Television in general is bad for kids but standards would likely go up (perhaps to Sesame Street levels) as the profit motive diminishes and only the most self-motivated people get into children’s television. I am a libertarian.

    Discuss.

  75. libertarian think tanks

    I think this is the point where I make a True Scotsman comment.

  76. “In fact, as it is a references page and not every footnoted claim in the article even purports to be a damning finding about the FDA it is even less than that…”

    It was right below the sentence you quote.

    That makes your case worse, you know?

  77. mark,

    Sesame Street makes enough money to fund PBS. Lack of profit motive, my ass.

  78. MNG,

    Are you still arguing from source. Are the numbers true or not? If the numbers are true and I have seen enough evidence elsewhere to believe them, then they are true.

  79. robc
    The references pages of an article written by and/or for a think tank whose goal is anti-FDA is certainly not going to be an adequate review of the relevant literature on the subject. “Researchers” in think tanks lose their job if they don’t make a case that is consistent with their employers mission. That’s a mighty big incentive to cherry pick studies I would think.

    This would be like me linking to the references of an article by FDA scientists attesting to the efficacy of the FDA.

  80. Just if any one cares. Cato has about 358 things on tort reform. Whereas a place like AEI has over 5000. I think this is a ox gored by conservatives over libers.

  81. MNG,

    Simple question for you to answer – did the delay in beta blockers kill 10k americans per year or not?

    This is the important question. The FDA (or, more specifically, the 1962 FDA amendments) was the cause of those deaths.

  82. This would be like me linking to the references of an article by FDA scientists attesting to the efficacy of the FDA.

    Unless you think the FDA is fraudulent, I think those studies would be valuable to see.

  83. Like Boston said, what the fuck does this have to do with:
    1) banning all daytime commercials,
    2) taxing other TV providers and the internet to make up the difference, and
    3) giving the head of the executive more direct control of the state run media?

  84. robc
    You have a page in which, let’s say, to be charitable, 60% or 30 of the referenced articles are peer reviewed and had anti-FDA findings.

    But this does nothing to tell you that perhaps there are 1,000 peer reviewed studies on the efficacy of the FDA and the othe 970 found the opposite.

    You see?

  85. Here is a quote from the FDA:

    In the early 1980s, when I headed the team at the FDA that was reviewing the NDA for recombinant human insulin, . . . we were ready to recommend approval a mere four months after the application was submitted (at a time when the average time for NDA review was more than two and a half years). With quintessential bureaucratic reasoning, my supervisor refused to sign off on the approval-even though he agreed that the data provided compelling evidence of the drug’s safety and effectiveness. “If anything goes wrong,” he argued, “think how bad it will look that we approved the drug so quickly.”

  86. 358 is still quite a lot!

  87. That quote is from the FDA?

    The FDA refers to itself as “I?”

  88. MNG,

    But this does nothing to tell you that perhaps there are 1,000 peer reviewed studies on the efficacy of the FDA and the othe 970 found the opposite.

    You see?

    Nope, because I have never found a link to those 970. Post it.

    Im assuming the peer reviewed articles are peer reviewed, in part, but opponents of the position being taken, and yet still passed review. Hence, unless their is specific evidence otherwise, they are trustworthy.

  89. MNG,

    The FDA refers to itself as “I?”

    The FDA is made up of individuals. Just like a study from inside the FDA.

    You really are dense arent you. Or a jackass, more interested in rebutting sources than the material.

  90. 358 is still quite a lot!

    No, it isnt!!!

    I have more exclamation points, I win.

  91. Researchers that agree with me are awesome; researchers who disagree with me are poopy-heads.

  92. robc
    I’m not saying there are not studies that are peer reviewed that have findings that put the FDA in a bad light. Clearly some of the studies are that way. I simply point out that given this is an organization that hires and pays its researchers to come up with anti-FDA findings then these findings may not be representative of the majority (or the best) peer reviewed work in the field.

    You do realize that when something is peer reviewed it is not being certified as “true” right? It just means that it appears to be up to professional standards and important enough to publish.

  93. Really robc, quoting a person who used to work for the FDA is not “the FDA even says…”

    358 articles on tort reform is a lot. That’s a lot of articles. I mean, read them all if you don’t think so. Tort reform just is position that most libertarian think tanks take. If you do not then all the more credit to you.

  94. Some detail on the Massengil case mentioned above:

    Elixir Sulfanilamide is a sulfa drug (antibiotic) released by Massengil in 1937 in liquid form without prior toxicity testing of its solvent. The solvent diethylene glycol, used today as automotive antifreeze, caused the death of 107 people, mostly children. The chemist who created the elixir committed suicide. The “Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy” prompted the passage of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938.

    107. That was the worst US drug accident of the 20th century. Oh, wait, unless you ignore the 30k+ killed by a delay in propranolol. And I dont think that is the worst. There were later drugs delayed even longer.

  95. “Researchers that agree with me are awesome; researchers who disagree with me are poopy-heads.”

    Holy moley I hope whoever posted this is not on the side that is saying that checking out the references from an article from an acknowledged ideological think tank is enough said on what research tells us about something.

    Wow.

  96. You do realize that when something is peer reviewed it is not being certified as “true” right?

    I have more experience with Physics journals. Obviously false doesnt get published. Well, sometimes it does, but I would argue it wasnt obvious then. 🙂

    Im still waiting for the link to the counter studies. I believe they exist. I want to see them to draw a proper conclustion. Based on all the evidence I have seen (which is much more than this page I happened to google upon today), the beta blocker numbers are pretty clear. And there is no risk level near that high from unapproved drugs.

  97. You and J sub are under the impression that you and your loved ones would be the wily consumer that avoids the trouble.

    I dont know JsubD, but I know me and my loved ones. Im smarter than that. I know we arent the wily consumers.

    I know that J sub D guy real well. He’s smart enough to not take antibiotics for the common cold even though he can get a doctor to prescribe them for it. He’s smart enough to known that oxycodone has no advantages over heroin for intractable pain. He’s also smart enough to visit a reputable professional for advice when he lacks the knowledge to make an informed decision (automatic transmissions, chemotherapy drugs, translations from Arabic, etc.) He is hardly a genius.

  98. Used to be that MNG used to go shooting with Thoreau.

    Now I think that he is Thoreau, just the government trusting version.

  99. See robc, here is the difficulty. There probably would be no “link” to the “counter studies” unless, like the link you found, some pro-FDA organization had taken the time to compile them (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a pro-FDA think tank, since most corporations want their drugs approved faster, not slower, I can’t think of many reasons why corporations would fund such organizations as opposed to anti-FDA ones).

    If you want to know what the studies as a whole say you’d have to do a thorough literature review, which would involve probably going to a univeristy library and search using various online academic databases, then go pull those articles off the shelves and read them.

    Really.

    For a shorthand you could go to your local university and find out who the professors of public health are and ask them, they probably have had to read all that for decades of their lives.

    What I’m saying is that a listing of “articles that are relied on in writing a non-peer reviewed article for an ideological think tank that would fire us if we came to the wrong conclusion” is a list that should be looked on with less than eager acceptance as being the authoritarive findings of researchers on this subject. Surely you can see that.

  100. He’s also smart enough to visit a reputable professional for advice when he lacks the knowledge to make an informed decision (automatic transmissions, chemotherapy drugs, translations from Arabic, etc.)

    When I bought my first house, I hired a property lawyer. I didnt use the bank’s. I hired my own. I was making a 100k transaction, spending $500 to have someone make sure everything was right and explain it to me seemed wise. Considering the mess people got into signing mortgages that they didnt apparently understand, it seemed a very prudent decision. I have been criticized for pointing this out in housing threads by people saying it wasnt reasonable to expect others to hire a lawyer.

    They were wrong.

  101. MNG,

    Im not disagreeing with you, I googled, I expect you to hit the medical library this afternoon. I expect you to accept the peer reviewed articles found until you find counter articles, instead of arguing against the source of the articles.

    Or, read the fucking articles and let me know what they did wrong in their methodology.

  102. Or, read the fucking articles and let me know what they did wrong in their methodology.

    See the Hazlett/Keynes thread for an example.

  103. J sub D
    You want to live your life having to “go see a reputable professional for advice” everytime you go shopping at the grocery store and pharmacy?

    That’s “freedom” to you?

    Because how else would you know if that hamburger you just bought is from a producer that regularly and thoroughly inspects it’s products, or that tomato to go on your burger is from a field that didn’t just sell thousands of contaminated tomatos, or that the ingredients on that pepcid ac you will need after the burger correspond to the pill and that the company that manufatured it is not a wholly owned subsidiary of that company you read about in the paper being sued for fraud in its packaging of drug products?

    You benefit from all these government regulations and it gives you the illusion that you are navigating the world on your own wiles and good looks and so you can denounce the very measures that assist you in staying so successful and the handsome devil I’m sure you are.

  104. MNG,

    Trust but Verify – Ronald Reagan

  105. Because how else would you know if that hamburger you just bought is from a producer that regularly and thoroughly inspects it’s products

    The UL sticker on the package?

  106. MNG,

    How do jews know if food is kosher without a government standard? Surely they dont rely on private organizations to certify products?

  107. Because how else would you know if that hamburger you just bought is from a producer that regularly and thoroughly inspects it’s products

    Right, MNG, because there’s no such thing as a private entity certifying quality or some other criterion. All we have to go on is just the word of the producer or the word of the government, right? Because two private companies can be in bed with each other, but the government is immune from that, right?

  108. Whilst the control of media aspect is worrying (and Sarkozy is a nasty little troll), having flicked through french public TV a few times I can’t see much potential for loss of quality, unless TV5 stops showing test rugby. I, of course, can see zero justification for state funded television unless it is providing something that the market is not, i.e. “quality” or overlooked programming and news. If they are organised around competing for ratings with the private channels then there would seem little point to continue funding them.

  109. “I expect you to accept the peer reviewed articles found until you find counter articles,”

    But as I’ve explained above robc that would be CRAZY since I have very good reasons to believe that they might not represent the majority of findings in the field. That good reason is that this organization is admittedly against the FDA and hires its staff with that mission in mind. So they have every reason to cherry pick, it’s just a matter of basic incentives.

    Perhaps they overcame that incentive, or perhaps the field just is composed of similar findings (and no cherry picking was necessary), but it would be silly of me to “accept the peer reviewed articles” they list as references without doing a thorough lit review.

    The best I can say looking at what you’ve given me is “there certainly seem to be some peer reviewed articles that exist that seem to find the FDA does more harm than good.” So for example if I bumped into someone today who said “why there are no studies demonstrating the FDA does more harm than good” I would have to say “I think you are wrong on that, I saw some today that seemed legit.” But I also have to say “No, we can’t so conclude from what I’ve seen” to anyone I bump into saying “the research results on this subject are in and they clearly point to the FDA doing more harm than good”

  110. robc,

    The flaw in your suggestion is that UL doesn’t get to put its boot on anyone’s neck.

    “[Modern liberalism], like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”
    – Frederic Bastiat

  111. Reinmoose and robc
    I said upthread that the UL suggestion sounds interesting, though at 12:24 I explained why insurance companies might have powerful reasons to be less than trustworthy on this. Did you have something specific about my points you wanted to mention?

    And robc, I should point out as you admitted upthread most of these vaunted articles you are relying on did NOT find that the FDA was worse than simply leaving matters to private insurers, just that it was worse than European governmental bureaucratic approaches.

  112. I’ve enjoyed the debate here.

    Every now and then people on the thread will get mad at debates with me, or joe or some other liberal and be like “why are these people even posting here.”

    Because debate is fun and healthy (you learn things, if only what people different than you think, imagine all the liberals who don’t know the differences between paleo-libertarians and cosmo-libertarians or paleo-conservatives and libertarians and how stupid they sound in the media). And imagine how boring these sites would be without any liberals like me and joe on them (or conservatives like Mad Max or TallDave I guess).

    Poster 1: Yeah, the FDA sucks.
    Poster 2: Totally, it’s really terrible.
    Poster 3: I know, can you believe how bad it sucks?
    Poster 1: I totally agree with what you guys just said.

  113. MNG –
    So how does private regulation by potentially many entities lose preference over government entities just because there could be some flaws with private regulation? You make no claims as to the corruptability of private insurers (though I see no need to focus on simple insurers) vs. the corruptability of government. Why is the current system automatically better than a simple change in corporate liability laws?

  114. J sub D
    You want to live your life having to “go see a reputable professional for advice” everytime you go shopping at the grocery store and pharmacy?

    That’s “freedom” to you?

    WTF are you talking about? You may recall that I’vce spent considerable amount of time eating, carousing and generally living in places far beyond the reach of the FDA.

    I’ve ordered food from street vendors in third world countries literally hundreds of times and somehow remain alive. It turns out those folks were actually trying to sell food for a living, not act out a Lucretia Borgia scenario.

    Do you really think that Krogers is suddenly going to be filled with poisonous foodstuffs absent the FDA? Fuck, even snake oil salesmen (see herbal supplements comment upthread) don’t poison you, they just take your money and provide a useless placebo (see my comment on getting antibiotics for a cold).

  115. MNG,

    I said I wasnt an anarchist. What the FDA is replaces with could include a lot of things. I prefer private insurance. Others might prefer European style FDA. Either way, the FDA has got to go.

  116. Befoer I ever read Reason or H&R I would have thought that anyone advocating getting rid of the FDA was some sort of cave person whose ideas would result in the re-birth of widespread dissentery and such, but while I find these ideas about insurance and private third party information suppliers ultimately either 1. having problems of their own but possibly as workable as our current system or 2. unworkable but interesting as a though experiment, I can say that libertarian ideas are much more nuanced on this than many people think.

    Thanks, but gotta run now.

  117. Reinmoose
    I gotta run, but really I think I covered all that in my 12:14, 12:29 and 12:24 posts.

  118. Does this mean that the president gets to decide what the public can watch on TV?

    If in the near future a French president decides that he doesn’t like the hooliganism of football/soccer he can decree that it won’t be televised?

    Man they’d bring back le guillotine for that guy!

  119. Every now and then people on the thread will get mad at debates with me, or joe or some other liberal and be like “why are these people even posting here.”

    I read a lot of your posts MNG, but I’d have been more interested in reading more on public television/political control of media, and less on the FDA etc, in this thread …

  120. When they say “freed from the tyranny of ratings”, what they mean is they’re going to put on programs that no one but elitist University faculty would watch. Think Masterpiece Theater and documentaries on crappy artists no one has ever heard of.

  121. It appears MNG thinks the only thing preventing people from selling you poisonous foodstuffs is the gummint. Absent the regulation, everybody would be doing it!

    I know I would, but that’s because I generally despise humanity. I’d even advertise it as a feature on the box in big letters. Now with 100% more melamine per serving! Cures what ails you! Totally FDA unapproved! That way, I’m even cleared for lawsuits. Shit, I told you on the box it was poisonous, right?

    Of course, if you make the pernicious and totally unbelievable assumption that perhaps the rest of the world isn’t composed of murderous psychopaths, maybe you’d understand how a system free of the FDA could work. Most people, despite what you may think, are not out to fuck over the rest of the world at any cost. Those that do have it as a life goal gravitate towards government.

  122. Anyhow, I was told French TV after 8 PM is all soft-core porn. Never having watched any TV outside of the US that wasn’t graciously provided to me by the US Army or the Saudis, I can’t verify that. However, if true, that means Sarkozy is going to subsidize porn? That should get somebody all fired up here in the US.

  123. Another MaunderingNannyGoat extravagana. I need some Laudanum.

  124. Anyhow, I was told French TV after 8 PM is all soft-core porn.

    Exactly the sort of programming that should be uninterrupted and commercial-free.

  125. Anyhow, I was told French TV after 8 PM is all soft-core porn.

    That’s more certain channels in Germany – think endless telephone sexline ads featuring girls playing minigolf in transparent latex, and constant use of the terms “geil” and “von hinten.”

    In Copenhagen they have the Pirate channel on after ~11pm. No complaints there really.

  126. Going back to the FDA bashing from earlier in the thread:

    I blame the FDA for delaying the pills from Star Trek with an entire days meal in them from reaching the market in a timely manner.

  127. Naga, you fool! Did you learn nothing from Violet Beauregarde?!?

  128. ah, make that Private.

  129. Synthetic Earl Grey Tea rocks as well Naga.

  130. 107. That was the worst US drug accident of the 20th century. Oh, wait, unless you ignore the 30k+ killed by a delay in propranolol. And I dont think that is the worst. There were later drugs delayed even longer.

    30,000 people were not killed for lack of propanalol. Beta blockers extend life in individuals with heart failure. They do not cure the disease. Instead of saying that people died for lack of the drug, it’s better to think in terms of life extension – how much extra life people would have gained, multiplied by the number of people that would have gained it – person years.

    In any case, it’s obvious why the FDA, and drug companies, for that matter are cautious in introducing new drugs. The tort system ensures that you can be damaged a lot more by a handful of bad reactions than you can benefit from a great majority of good ones.

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