It's now December 28, nine days after the initial Missouri health alert that triggered the December 22 Mead Johnson press release on the safety of its infant formula, and there's no official word from the FDA on whether the stuff is safe (though the company says "with confidence" that it is).
Meanwhile, the FDA spends a lot of resources on non-safety related issues, such as "efficacy," or whether medicine actually heals diseases. Perhaps the Enfamil episode will give a boost to efforts, such as the one by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove, to reform the FDA so that it focuses on safety alone rather than efficacy.
Deregulation has a bad name these days (undeservedly, I'd argue) because of the narrative constructed by some politicians and by a lot of the press around the financial crisis. But we don't hear many calls for returning to the bad old days of airline and utility regulation.
Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch's book The Declaration of Independents tells the story of the deregulation of the airline industry, which was led by a Democratic president, Jimmy Carter; a Democratic senator, Edward Kennedy, and his aide Stephen Breyer (later a Democratic president's nominee to the Supreme Court), and a Cornell professor, Alfred Kahn, who was a Democrat who had served as chairman of New York's Public Service Commission, the utilities regulator, under a Democratic governor, Hugh Carey. A similar story can be told about Carter's deregulation of utilities under PURPA, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.
Who will be the Alfred Kahn — or the Jimmy Carter, Edward Kennedy, or Stephen Breyer — of FDA reform? If it's done right, it could unleash tremendous innovation and growth.