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OpenMarket: Business and Government

  • Tensions within the FDA -- Type I, Type II debate

    May 31, 2007

    An internecine struggle apparently exists within the FDA, according to an article in the New York Times. Those tensions between drug approval officials and drug safety officials are expected to erupt in a House hearing scheduled for June 6.

    The agency is taking a lot of heat from politicians for approving drugs that have had side effects, the latest being the diabetes drug Avandia, charged with increasing the risk of heart attacks.

  • Today is Rachel Carson's 100th birthday

    May 27, 2007
    And to observe the occasion, CEI's Jeremy Lott and Erin Wildermuth provide a reality check on her legacy in today's Baltimore Sun:
    In 1948, Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. He was the first non-physician to win in that category - a surprise given the nature of the celebrated discovery. He had found that dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was an extraordinarily effective pesticide... It was especially effective against malaria. In Sri Lanka, to take one celebrated example, there were 2.8 million reported cases of malaria in 1948. In 1963, after a DDT campaign, the number of cases dropped to 17, with zero reported fatalities - only to rise into the hundreds of thousands again shortly after DDT was...
  • The Gotham Prize for Cancer

    May 23, 2007
    According to Reuters, medical researchers got together with hedge fund managers to institute the Gotham Prize for Cancer Research, a new private prize for innovative cancer research. Announced on its own website, the prize was deemed necessary to stimulate new cancer research and to recognize innovative approaches that may come from outside mainstream scientific research:
    Though billions are spent each year on cancer research, promising research and novel ideas may still not receive the support and recognition that they deserve. Research out of the mainstream may not be funded or accepted for publication, while, for competitive reasons, preliminary...
  • Rachel Was Wrong

    May 21, 2007
    Today we launch our campaign urging people to rethink the legacy of environmentalist icon Rachel Carson, with the site www.RachelWasWrong.com. Today she's mostly remembered at the author of the bestseller Silent Spring, the book frequently credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Unfortunately, the negative impact her ideas had on people around the world is mostly ignored. Her goal of getting rid of pesticides like DDT left uncounted millions vulnerable to deadly diseases like malaria.
    Here's Angela, from today's news release, on Carson's legacy and the occasion of what would have been her 100th birthday:...
  • Tim Carney on Drugs

    May 18, 2007
    Our good friend Tim Carney writes in today's Examiner about how Congress is pushing to expand the FDA's authority over prescription drugs, and why the pharmaceutical companies couldn't be happier:
    When the U.S. Senate passed a bill May 9 to expand the Food and Drug Administration's authority to regulate prescription drugs, the big drug makers applauded. This latest expansion of government regulatory power marked another win for the pharmaceutical industry, which has one of the most successful lobbying records in town. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is built on federal regulations and more often than not finds itself on the side of increased government control over pharmaceuticals. This year's push (spearheaded by “Liberal Lion” Teddy Kennedy) to heighten...
  • The Honor of Being 'Lamberted'

    May 4, 2007
    I have recently been informed that a couple weeks ago I had the distinct honor of being 'Lamberted.' That is, I was the object of a tirade by Australian blogger Tim Lambert, a computer science professor who fancies himself an expert on everything from DDT to climate change. Lambert is one of the "DDT deniers" I reference in my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazaardous to Your Health. Following the lead of his idol, Silent Spring author Rachel Carson, Lambert continues to promote the untruth that third-world countries ceased using DDT because the insecticide became ineffective due to mosquito resistance. Eco-Freaks...
  • The CAFE Debate: Safety v. Mileage

    May 3, 2007
    With today's Senate hearing on fuel economy, it's a good time to turn again to CEI's work on the Department of Transportation's corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. As Sam has pointed out on many occasions (including today), the CAFE regs kill - contributing to as many as 2,600 additional passenger deaths each year. For the short answer on why this is the case, tune in to the following episode of The Simpleton's Guide. Because, simple is better.

    ...
  • Of Chocolate and Ice Cream

    May 3, 2007
    A number of blogs and mainstream media outlets are going wild over proposed FDA regulations that would redefine chocolate. Right now, to be called "chocolate" a substance has to contain cocoa solids and cocoa butter. This gives chocolate its unique, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Most "chocolate" is real now: according to the leading opponent of the proposed FDA switch, nine of the ten leading candy bars already contain real chocolate. Why would Mars, Hershey and the rest throw out treasured, well known brands by replacing cocoa butter with soy or something else? Quite simply, they wouldn't. If fact, the story of another popular sweet indicates that a looser chocolate definition would make things better. Until 1994, any sweet, frozen dairy product with less than 20 percent butterfat had to be...
  • Drug Industry Gone to the Dogs

    January 9, 2007
    My dog is fat. Obese, even, if the FDA is to be believed. The arrival of my new-born son two years ago has meant fewer and fewer long runs on the weekends for me and the dog, as well as more and more table 'scraps' being hand-fed to the pooch by the boy. Tipping the scales at a whopping 90 pounds (or roughly 20 percent) over his ideal weight, BJ needs some help. Fortunately, last week the FDA approved the very first diet drug for dogs -- a Pfizer product called derlotapide, to be marketed under the trade name Slentrol. The introduction of a prescription-only diet drug for pets says a lot about a country. (It might suggest a thing or two about me personally as well, but let...
  • Draining the Swamp: Reform for Anti-Malaria Policy

    December 14, 2006
    The White House is hosting a summit on malaria this week, and our good friend Roger Bate will be attending. And since Roger has such excellent timing, he also has an op-ed out today assessing the state of anti-malaria efforts and what we can hope for coming out of the summit:
    Malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease, kills at least a million people yearly, mostly children under age 5 and pregnant women. Prompted by anti-malaria advocates, the U.S. Congress led a series of investigations into USAID's malaria control programs between September 2004 and January 2006. These hearings found almost no monitoring and evaluation of performance, no ability to account for spending with any meaningful precision, and the promotion...

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