Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bootleggers and Baptists - FDA and Waxman

Via Econlog:
To save money for consumers, Waxman is willing to allow certain drugs, called biologic drugs, to enter the market without clinical testing that proves their efficacy. He realizes that requiring clinical testing for efficacy will slow things down and needlessly keep important drugs out of the hands of suffering patients.

Sound nice, but you know Waxman has some other motive.

Bruce Yandle of Clemson University has a theory called Bootleggers and Baptists. You can read and hear him talk about it at Econtalk.
Simply put, it goes that government regulations usually are lobbied by two different groups with two different motivations.
The baptists are the moralists. They do what they do with the air of moral high ground. Yandle uses the metaphor of Baptists trying to ban liquor sales on Sunday. The Baptists faith in the Bible and the belief that alcohol is evil, feel that they are doing society a favour.
The bootleggers are the exploiters. They do what they do because there is money to be made. The bootleggers lobby for the Sunday liquor ban because they can then sell liquor on Sundays via Black Market.
Politics make strange befellows.
Anyway back to Waxman. So my question is who are the bootleggers here?

It's obvious, at least to me, that the Baptists are they ones wanting lower cost drugs, which no FDA testing will surely do. Yet, we all know, no politician will do anything altruistic without a money man greasing his wheels.

So who is greasing Waxman's wheels?

I'm lazy right now, but does anyone know where you can get the info to see which Pharm companies have a new "biologic drug" coming out and just gave Waxman a campaign contribution?

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