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