September 20, 2005

THE FDA HAS BECOME A CREATURE OF POLITICS, NOT THE DRUG COMPANIES:

Bush and the mad scientists: The administration strikes again in its infuriating war against science. (Chris Mooney, September 20, 2005, LA Times)

THE LAMENTATION in the forthcoming New England Journal of Medicine is typical of a growing genre: complaints about the misuse of science by the Bush administration. It is merely the latest jeremiad, from a group of distinguished experts, about the loss of reason by our leaders. This particular editorial, titled "A Sad Day for Science at the FDA," concerned so-called Plan B emergency contraception (the "morning after" pill), but it just as well could have been about the science of global warming or mercury pollution. [...]

[L]et's try to muster whatever's left of our outrage, because the Plan B episode truly demands it. It may represent a historic low for science-based professionalism at the FDA. And it presents an instructive case study in how the political abuse of science plays out in practice. [...]

The scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine agree. Although the FDA may previously have been accused of having too much bureaucracy or too close a rapport with the drug industry, they argue, it had at least "resisted political pressure to reflect a particular social policy or ideology."

But not any more — and that's the really nasty thing about the current war on science. If you can get past the complicated details, you'll see that it is undermining our government's most central mission: to serve and protect us.


When someone starts arguing for the primacy of science and reason in public policy you hardly expect to find a fine-tuned moral sense, but it's particularly monstrous to argue that a delay in making an abortifacient freely available represents a failure to "protect us." Plan B is about us, but getting rid of them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2005 12:00 AM
Comments

The FDA is a part of the gov't. Hence its job is to make policy. Science is only one out of many factors that go into making policy, and by no means the primary factor.

Amusingly, the left has unwittingly destroyed the credibility of "Science." By effectively driving out anyone who dissents from academic orthodoxy (and even from political orthodoxy in recent years), they have made it all too easy to dismiss the proclamations of scientists as just another leftist interest group. (I say this with great regret, as I have a PhD in a physical science and once imagined I could have enjoyed life in the ivory tower...)

Posted by: b at September 20, 2005 2:47 PM
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