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Ted Cruz Introduces S. 2388, the Congress-Decides-If-Drugs-Work Act

19th Century advertisement for sasparilla soda as a curative medicineIn the United States of the 19th Century, any huckster with enough money could advertise any “medicine,” declare that it cured disease, and rake in a huge profit.  In the best of cases, quack cures like graham crackers and sasparilla drinks did nothing to help people but nothing really to hurt them either.  In the worst of cases, medications containing substances like arsenic would regularly kill people.  Thankfully, today we in the United States are much less likely to be killed by our medications because the Food and Drug Administration requires that medications with health claims have those health claims scientifically tested before they go on sale.  Some modern-day quacks complain about these rules because they’d like to make profits selling substances like echinacea flowers by attaching medical claims to those substances, even when it’s been established that they don’t work.  Thank goodness the quacks don’t have control over our system for approving medicines, widely touted as the most effective system in the world.  The FDA system is efficient, too, with the shortest review period for approved drugs among industrialized nations.

S. 2388, a bill introduced by U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, would change that.  Under the new system proposed by Ted Cruz, a pharmaceutical corporation would only have to have its proprietary drug or medical device approved in any single one of the 28 European Union countries, or Israel, or Australia, or Canada, or Japan.  Once that happens, the FDA has only 30 days to review the medicine or device and issue its approval or denial.  Only 30 days.

And here’s where it gets really interesting.  Under subsection (g) of Ted Cruz’s bill, if the FDA rejects such a drug or medical device as unproven or dangerous to Americans’ health, the U.S. Congress can overrule such a decision and force a drug or device to be deemed acceptable with a simple majority vote.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, a Green, an Independent, a liberal or a conservative.  Nobody with the interest of Americans at heart should be in favor of a system in which a bunch of members of Congress decide by majority vote whether a drug or medical device is effective and safe… especially when those same members of Congress are taking money from the pharmaceutical industry.  It’s a simple ethical principle: when lives are at stake, avoid conflicts of interest.

But Ted Cruz thinks this is a great idea.

P.S. In completely unrelated news courtesy of Open Secrets, Ted Cruz’s campaign has accepted $102,975 in financial contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

7 thoughts on “Ted Cruz Introduces S. 2388, the Congress-Decides-If-Drugs-Work Act”

  1. ella says:

    It is surprising no one has commented here. Of course we have to take a long look at the long list of ‘side effects’ that a whole lot of today’s ‘medications’ potentially have. And many of those are fatal. Some sooner than others, but the list of those which ‘kill’ people is long still. Americans at one time could believe in the FDA and so many began taking the prescribed ‘medications’ and many got sicker, and then slowly died after being prescribed any number of other ‘medications’ to ‘help’ with the ‘symptoms’ that were (are) caused by another ‘medication’. Sad but true. Just look at the never ending advertisements by legal firms suing pharmaceutical companies for wrongful death and injury.

    But it is very interesting to note that Cruz received a sizable donation from the industry.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      A lot of medications are imperfect, to be sure. Chemotherapies for cancer can cause further cancers, for instance — but they do prolong life and delay suffering in many instances. Medicines don’t have to be perfect to be effective; it’s an imperfect world. Was there a particular medication you had in mind, Ella?

      1. ella says:

        There wasn’t really, but I can address chemo. There is a ‘serum’ that is now being used on people that has a remarkable rate of success in totally erasing cancer, tumors and cells. Jimmy Carter has used it and it is not in remission, but non existent at this time. Yet they still are using radiation on him. I believe that is a mistake. Chemo causes far more suffering than people are allowed to know, before they have to tolerate it. Look at the suffering an death that has been caused by it in Russia, the U.S. (Mile High), and Japan. That was generally spread and probably a higher dose, but the effects are in line.

        I was referring to pills for depression, anxiety, impotence and “symptoms”, for various ailments. There was a time when doctors actually studied enough to recognize and properly diagnose medical problems. Not only that they did so, and then tried to use to best know cure, or do what could be done to ease a person’s suffering. Some doctors still do that, too many rely on a pill or many pills to simply keep the body able to perform at a higher level until it either gets better/heals, or dies. I guess that is a good thing for some, it has been for me several times, a case of healing. But some of the medications actually kill people, Staten’s for instance. I know people who were told to continue taking them and they dies within weeks. Yet Staten’s are still on the market, no doubt they do help a lot of people.

  2. Santi says:

    It takes 12 years and 2.6 billion dollars to bring a drug to market. There are lots of therapies and medicine that haven’t come to market because of the high cost. How many people have to die because the FDA makes it so difficult and costly to bring a drug to market. Sen. Cruz is proposing the bill to be able to say he is doing something that will bring down drug costs for seniors and speed up bringing new medical therapies to the market in order to get votes. $102,975 is such a small sum in American politics that it shows the writers bias by trying to make it look like money is the reason instead of the obvious fact that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination and looking to broaden his support.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Santi, how many people have to die because deadly drugs are rushed to market?

      How many seniors will waste their money on drugs that don’t work because Ted Cruz wants to create low standards for testing?

      1. ella says:

        Thank you J Clifford. Here is an astonishingly long list of ‘bad drugs’. http://www.bad-drug.net/bad-drug-list

        Drug that have been tested and are being used in other parts of the world, such as the “morning after pill”, aren’t allowed in the United States. That particular on I believe has been allowed finally. Yet, even though side effects are known, these drugs are allowed on the market here.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      1. Your claims are unsourced. The report that you don’t cite was funded by pharmaceutical corporations and has been widely criticized for being unreliable and biased: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/11/18/does-it-really-cost-2-6-billion-to-develop-a-new-drug/
      2. You aren’t differentiating between a corporation’s own research and development time and investment and the time and cost imposed by the FDA in testing. $1.2 billion alone of that “$2.6 billion” cost comes from something called “opportunity costs” — the claim by pharmaceutical corporations that they could have made more money if they’d invested it elsewhere during the time that drugs were being researched.
      3. The median time for FDA review of new drug applications is less than a year, consistently outperforming the European and Japanese drug agencies in timeliness. Source: http://cirsci.org/sites/default/files/CIRS_R&D_57_ICH_%20approval_%20times_2005-2014_%2006072015.pdf

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