The last edition of this series advocated turning over the mandate of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the private sector, which could do a better and less expensive job of protecting us from harmful and mislabeled pharmaceuticals and other products. But there would still remain a large role for the government to play, and it is twofold. The first is to maintain our judicial system that enforces contracts and warranties, and the second is to establish a system that better promotes accurate information being placed into the marketplace.
One of the best examples of the justice
system enforcing responsibility is found in the fairly recent successful lawsuits brought against the manufacturers of cigarettes. Even though cigarettes had been approved by the FDA, it was the legal system that held the manufacturers accountable for having manipulated the amount of nicotine and other substances in their products to create more addictions, and then hiding their actions and lying about them. There are also two strong and illustrative examples of good results being obtained from causing
truthful information to be placed into the marketplace. The first is the federal Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which almost by itself closed down the so-called patent medicine industry by requiring accuracy in labeling. Since these elixirs or snake oils often consisted of about 50 percent cocaine, when people discovered what they were taking, they were horrified and they simply stopped. The second was when truthful information was promulgated about the harms of smoking tobacco products, their usage was seriously reduced. Prohibitions of these products in many ways cause more harm than good, but a Liberty/Government partnership that combines the promulgation of truthful information with responsibility for the manufacturers maximizes the benefits and reduces the harms these products can bring.
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President
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