Sunday, May 06, 2007

Why I'll Never Be A True Libertarian

UPDATE: The timing of the story, below, is interesting when you consider the timing of this vote. I wonder if they're related or if I'm just being paranoid. I still think regulation of the food and drug industry is critical (life and death critical) but I don't like being played.

*****

Because I don't believe all government regulation is evil.

I've downed a full bottle of cough syrup this week (I've been rather sick) so imagine my delight in reading this:

Some Chinese suppliers have used poisonous diethyline glycol, or DEG, as a substitute for glycerin, a more expensive sweet syrup, in cough medicine, fever medication and injectable drugs, the New York Times reported today. Researchers estimate that thousands of deaths worldwide have been caused by drugs contaminated by DEG, an industrial solvent and an ingredient in some antifreeze, the newspaper said.

The FDA ``is emphasizing the importance of testing glycerin for DEG due to the serious nature of this potentially fatal problem in combination with the global nature of the pharmaceutical supply chain and problems that continue to occur,'' the agency said in the statement released May 4.

This kind of bad shit is almost entirely preventable. Consumer deaths should not be the canary in the coal mine of product safety, and it is not enough to let the market decide that companies selling poison should go out of business.

Food and drugs that are not grown or manufactured in the US (under US regulatory oversight) should be subject to rigorous testing before we allow them to be imported without so much as caveat emptor on the label. Doesn't that seem like, ohhhhhh I don't know... common sense?

How about this: I nominate the next politician who touts the benefits of free trade in agriculture (because it's oh-so-much-cheaper) to be our national taste tester.

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