Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new podcast with Russell Roberts. Highlights from the summary:
we will see a systematic shift from production to compliance as the kind of general political ethic of our time. One of more frightening features is that all of the increase seems to be on the government side; almost none of it seems to be on the private sector side. Means since much of the private sector employment is an effort to beef up your compliance, the number of productive workers you see in the United States as opposed to their political overseers is going down. Augurs badly for growth of production in the United States. Regulation has two costs: direct cost of administration from the government side and compliance from the private industry side.
Take the Republican Party. When they opposed the Health Care bill, that's fine. When they opposed it on the grounds that we had to keep Medicare strong, what they are doing is showing their great allegiance to the dominant huge transfer payments over the new generation of huge transfer payments.
Any company who has a drug out in the marketplace with FDA approval is now in favor of rather strict restrictions on the introduction of substitute products by rival that might displace it from its market share. What everybody's trying to do is get to a situation of differential advantage, whereby large and experienced company which knows the ropes can get its products through a year or six months faster than somebody who turns out to be less skillful. Anticompetitive benefits: FDA acts as barrier to entry inside the marketplace. At that point, you expect industry behavior inconsistent, no strong drive to abolish the FDA--they benefit too much from it....
if you are trying to figure out whether the pharmaceutical industry dominates this situation, that has to be wrong. There are too many other groups out there that have very large says in the way in which this thing operates. Take Congress in its oversight of the FDA. I've been involved in proceedings in which John Dingell would call a hearing to examine FDA people and everybody inside the agency would start to quake. What the FDA does, is it understands that if it lets a drug on the market, say, Vioxx, which has some adverse effects, it's going to be absolutely hammered in the political region. On the other hand, if it keeps something like Vioxx off the market and people simple suffer pain, which cannot be attributable to a drug the FDA has approved, they are going escape dangers. Built-in incentive to be extraordinarily cautious in order to escape political implications who make hay out of populist attack.