Progressive Approval? WTF?
In lockstep with the absurd 21St Century Cures Bill, Donald Trump’s latest consideration to head the FDA is on the same page as the Congress. He calls this new plan “progressive approval.” Its passing would be a dream for pharmaceutical companies, saving them billions of dollars in expensive testing. The rest of us will get to eat cake, but we’ll have to pay for it first.
Promote Corporate profits at Citizens’ Expense
Mr. Trump is considering a Silicon Valley investor friend of billionaire Peter Thiel to head the Food and Drug Administration. Jim O’Neill, the Thiel associate, hasn’t been officially chosen, so Mr. Trump could still go in another direction. However, Mr. O’Neill’s thinking falls conveniently right in line with the 21st Century Cures bill that Congress is busy trying to ram down our throats. The message at the moment from Mr. Trump and the Congress appears consistent: Help corporations thrive; make citizens pay the price.
No Medical Experience
FDA heads for the past five decades have all been doctors or prominent scientific researchers. Mr. O’Neill is neither. He has no relevant experience in the food or drug industry. Mr. O’Neill is a managing director at Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management. He did formerly serve in government for the George W. Bush administration, as principal associate deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Mr. O’Neill said in a 2014 speech that he supported reforming FDA approval rules so that drugs could hit the market after they’ve been proven safe, but without any proof that they worked (emphasis ours). He calls it “progressive approval.”
“We should reform FDA so there is approving drugs after their sponsors have demonstrated safety – and let people start using them, at their own risk, but not much risk of safety,” Mr. O’Neill said in a speech at an August 2014 conference called Rejuvenation Biotechnology. “Let’s prove efficacy after they’ve been legalized.”
Pay for your own Experiment
That position begs the painfully obvious question: Why would someone want to pay for and try a drug which has no record of efficacy? “Do you want to be the first wave of guinnea pigs to try this drug? Don’t worry. We’ve proven it’s ‘safe,’ even if we don’t know whether it works. What have you got to lose? Trust us.”
Draining the Swamp?
Mr. O’Neill made a fortune cashing in on the housing bubble swindle. He first served as a managing director at Clarium Capital, Thiel’s hedge fund that made a mint by predicting the housing bubble and subsequent crumbling. Since 2012 he has worked as managing director at Mithril Capital, Thiel’s late-stage venture firm.
Drug Bill makes People Pigs
It’s another Trump pick that doesn’t seem to be draining the swamp so much as figuring out new ways to fleece Americans and deepen the swamp. Promoting public risk for private profit is what created the swamp, and this is more of the same, only worse. Doesn’t Mr. Trump think he should at least show some pretense of pretending to care about the working class Americans he promised to help? And can our congress stoop any lower than the so-called 21st Century Cures Bill?