FDA vs Modern Medicine: Q/A w Peter Huber


"The search for one-dimensional, very simple correlations - one drug, one clinical effect in all patients - is horrendously obsolete," says Peter Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author, most recently, of The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law is Undermining 21st Century Medicine.

Pharmaceuticals, Huber says, offer amazing and important ways of improving our health and quality of life and today's scientists and doctors have the ability to tailor drugs to patients' unique genetic codes. It's nothing less than an outrage, argues Huber, that innovation is being blocked by the Federal Drug Administration, which clings to an outdated one-size-fits-all drug approval model.

Huber sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to discuss the future of "molecular medicine," the FDA drug-approval process, and how AIDS activism in the 1980s and '90s provides a model for disrupting the government's refusal to allow experimentation and innovation.

About 10 minutes.

For more of Reason's coverage on the FDA, go here.

Camera by Jim Epstein and Anthony Fisher. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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  1. So they'll design targeted drugs specific to you and your case, and after ten years and millions of dollars the FDA will approve it for you if you're still alive.

    1. Or like in my case: I was approaching 400 pounds while government groups did everything in their power to keep what worked for me from even being researched. Others who resist even allowing research include:
      American Academy of Family Physicians
      American Diabetes Association
      American Dietetic Association
      American Heart Association
      Australian Heart Foundation
      Food Standards Agency (UK)
      Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada)
      Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare
      U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

      1. Any quick review of diet and nutritional "science" in the US of A will turn almost anyone into a government hating libertarian.

        1. Seems to have worked for my wife. At least she's well down that road. Such a boon...

  2. "The search for one-dimensional, very simple correlations - one drug, one clinical effect in all patients - is horrendously obsolete,"

    I'll say. Does the boner pill make your hair grow, or does the hair pill give you a boner? That ended up being a marketing question, but the FDA had to approve the change.

    1. All I want is a pill that grows hair on my boner.

      1. I've heard there are drugs that make you get tan and get a boner. Is that close enough?

        1. Melanotan 2

          It works. I got a counterfeit sample from a chinese lab and tried it before I invested in the company putting it through clinical trials in Australia.

          1. Ahhh, but did you buy it for the tan or for the boner? Your H&R reputation is on the line...

            1. How do I know if it works if I always have a boner?

              1. Very nice. Reputation intact.

              2. Not so fast. You said, "it works". Then you said "How do I know if it works...?"

                Also, you didn't specify if you have a tan, and if so, if you always have a tan.

      2. So that sugar pill I gave you isn't working? I guess I just didn't fool you hard enough. Come back into Dr. Episiarch's lab, Hugh, and we'll get you fixed up.

        (loads syringe with sodium pentothol)

        1. Sugar pill--ha! Your love of diverse pharmacology makes that impossible. What did you really give him?

          1. Colorado River Toad.

            1. Nicssssssse.

          2. Are you so delusional that you think I'd waste the good stuff on Hugh? He gets a placebo, maybe an aspirin.

            1. Nice try, but I bet you don't even use sugar on your cereal. Admit it, such mundane substances play no role in your pharmacological cornucopia.

  3. Cool stuff. I look forward to the day when doctors can identify the molecular causes of an individual's unique ailment and design a counteragent specifically for that person.

    Of course we'll all die in the waiting room because there will only be two ObamaCare-approved doctors in the country. But the idea is still nice.

    1. We were this close to all sorts of amazing breakthroughs. Now we're doing everything we can to make sure those don't happen, at least not as soon as they might have.

      1. It's amazing how the mongoloid politicians are fucking up their own healthcare at the same time they're fucking up that of the proles. Sure, they'll still have "Cadillac" plans paid for by the taxpayer, but the wonder drugs that one hopes are around the corner won't magically appear for the rich and powerful. They still have to be invented, and without the promise of massive profits after sinking billions into R&D, the pharmaceutical companies won't be bothering.

        Have you read Milton, ProL? One wonders whether the retards in charge would rather rule a shithole than serve in a brighter future. Actually, I don't wonder at all. I know it's the former.

        1. I guess it depends on much they realize they're suffocating the Golden Goose when they stifle freedom and the free market. I'm not sure they really get that, though, undoubtedly, some of them do.

          And I agree, even if they did know, they'd trade power for wealth and progress every time.

          1. And I agree, even if they did know, they'd trade power for wealth and progress every time.

            I'm not so optimistic about your average politician's ability to make wealth and contribute to progress in a free society. For them, I'm not sure it's much of a choice at all.

    2. Of course we'll all die in the waiting room because there will only be two ObamaCare-approved doctors in the country.

      Two? Hey the future of American medicine is twice as bright as I thought!

  4. "Washington cannot handle the complexity."

    And this is the fundamental reason why a libertarian approach is the only rational course for not just medical science but nearly all aspects of modern (post-modern, whatever) life.

    1. I agree that one can make a strong utilitarian case that a libertarian approach is most beneficial to most people, but I still prefer to argue for a libertarian approach based on moral grounds. I don't really care if you show me that coercion (i.e., gov't coercion) has utility - it's still not right for you to have your gov't proxy put a gun to my head and take my money, stop me from doing something that doesn't harm you or others, or force me to do something against my will.

      But yes, you can typically argue a libertarian approach for most things regarding utility, too.

      1. Its not being right to put a gun to your head is not an argument, it's a conclusion.

    2. Yes. For example,

      "It turns out that purchasing insurance for a lot of folks is complicated." - Barack Obama

      No derp, dumbass.

      1. Haha... Nice quote from BO. He really is gold when it comes to being quotable. I always thought the "read my lips" Bush quote was bad, but BO outdoes Bush and himself on a regular basis.

        1. He's been a gold mine of quotes lately:

          "I promise you, nobody has been more frustrated. I wanted to go in and fix it myself, but I don't write code." - Barack Obama on the non-functioning federal health care exchange.

          "On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as ? the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, 'boy, this is going to be great.' You know, I'm accused of a lot of things, but I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying, 'this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity,' a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn't going to work." - Barack Obama

          1. Stop it - my sides hurt you bastard.

            1. I think he thought the question was about a "snort".

  5. I'm not really in to the sciency shit on this, but how exactly does coming up with new, crazy huge combinations of the same atoms that we already consume actually do anything? Don't most of them just break down almost immediately anyway?

    1. Receptors.

  6. Hey, captioner, better make that "Huber", not "Hubert".

  7. Y'all are hurtin' my most Deeply Felt Religious Convictions, making fun of the FDA, of all things? Don't y'all know, the FDA doesn't just deserve our Deepest Respects, it actually deserves our all-our WORSHIP! See http://www.churchofSQRLS.com for details ?

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