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February 14, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

The case for FDA regulations based on their economic impact

This is an interesting question. Its a complex one that doesn’t yield to simplistic dollar amounts from singular studies. I think it also has to take into account extra costs from not having those regulations in place.

Given that approach, I’m going to question the assumptions of the question and all the other answers. They apply a single-shot view of economics rather than a long-term view. Also they don’t look at the system-wide implications.

To be fair my assessment doesn’t take into account a more Hayekian view which would account for the costs of bureacratization–but any accounting of that would require far greater knowledge specific to the FDA itself.

Why might those regulations help to reduce costs overall?

Less disease and higher productivity.
Less obesity and higher nutrition.
Less burden on our health care system and consequent higher prices due to demand.

What else might be effected by regulations?

Trust and brand value–they add transparency to the process and make it work more efficiently. Commerce is based on trust. Knowing that FDA regulations are in place is good for consumers, producers, and restaurants. There is a systemic and centralized process of examination rather than piecemeal oversight which has to be duplicated.

FDA regulations serve to deter, perhaps on the order of 1,000 or more times incidents like this: A Strong FDA Benefits the Economy

Although the above somewhat assumes that these regulations aren’t politicized–distorting their enactment and affect. However, even politicized regulations may be better than no regulations.

Cost of FDA Regulations according to the FDA:
Economic Impact Analyses of FDA Regulations

Nutrition and regulations:
Regulations do change eating behavior

Shortened bio of the author:

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health (the department she chaired from 1988-2003) and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Overall, advocacy for FDA as an organization based on economic findings:

As Paul Harvey notoriously might have said, “and now you know the RRRRR-EST of the story….Good daaay!”

* The later is a political advocacy group. And certainly all my sources–as all do–have biases.

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