In the approval of new medical tools (drugs, laboratory tests, and medical devices), our system — including direct federal and state regulators and our civil liability regime — massively prefers safety (avoiding sins of commission, if you will) to the introduction of new technology that might save lives. We don’t put a feather on the “safety” side of the scales, we weigh it down with an anvil, and are thereby far more willing to commit the sin of omission (doing nothing) than commit the sin of approving a technology that is dangerous or ineffective.
Voters, politicians, government officials, and the press overwhelmingly favor the “safety paramount” approach of the United States. Unfortunately, the highly deliberative manner of the American approach becomes dangerous in a rapidly spreading pandemic. Much as the media and citizens wish it were otherwise, we cannot change our system, or even our bureaucratic impulses, suddenly. Even if lives depend on it.
There is no way to know how many millions of lives both the caution of the FDA in approving drugs (requiring “effectiveness,” and not just safety), and the federal junk-science approach to nutrition have cost us over the decades.
[Update a while later]
Related, and (speaking as a boomer) darkly amusing:
Good job, team! The FDA is forcing the CDC to double test for the virus. Because, you know, testing was going so smoothly and rapidly, and we knew who had it.
She shoots, she scores.
[Update a couple minutes later]
Bernie: “We must seize the means of toilet-paper production!”
[Update a few minutes later]
Globalization may be the biggest victim of the virus. It was definitely insane to put China on the critical path of our drug production.