Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes on the Food and Drug Administration's handling of both the salmonella eggs situation and the cancr-drug Avastin situation. I think he's a little too ready to support giving the FDA a big role in egg regulation, for reasons I get into here. But he's brilliant on Avastin:
There are at present two massive distortions in the market for cancer drugs that tend to cancel each other out. In the first place, the FDA takes a very aggressive role in demanding clinical trials for these drugs before allowing them on the market, and in the case of fast track drugs, even after they are on it....On the other side of the ledger, Medicare and other government programs pick up a large portion of the costs of these expensive cancer drugs, which in turn increases the demand for their use...So here is a modest suggestion. Cut out the mandated clinical trials, and prices go down. Cut out the subsidies, and the demand for these drugs goes down.