Commentary: The FDA’s Power over Food and Drug Approval

Competition tends to bring about a better product or service, at a lower price, than does monopoly. This is a basic premise held by virtually all economists, disputed by pretty much no one in the profession. The entire antitrust edifice of the American system is built upon this foundational aspect of the dismal science.

And yet when push comes to shove, our society jettisons this insight, at least when it comes to assuring the quality of our food and drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration is a monopoly agency entrusted with this task. Its word is final concerning such matters. No competition is allowed. If a private agency set itself up as an alternative, it would first be subjected to raucous laughter, and then its creators jailed.

The FDA is a licensing agency. If it does not approve of a food or drug, it is illegal to offer it for sale. What is the non-monopolistic alternative to this sad state of affairs? This is called certification. How, pray tell, does this work? It is simple. Different firms set themselves up as evaluators of the quality of food and drugs, and each of them subjects these products to their examinations. They certify some as approved, and list others as not approved.

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Lawmakers Seek Federal Grand Jury Investigation for COVID-19 Statistical Manipulation

The CDC adopted a “double-standard exclusively for COVID-19 data collection” that inflated cases and deaths starting early in the pandemic, violating multiple federal laws and distorting mitigation policies, Oregon lawmakers told the feds’ top lawyer in the state.

Advised by “a large team of world-renowned doctors, epidemiologists, virologists, and attorneys,” state Senators Kim Thatcher and Dennis Linthicum petitioned U.S. Attorney Scott Asphaug to approve a grand jury investigation into how the pandemic is being measured.

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Commentary: New Ways to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Are Here, and Better Ones Are on the Way

In sharp contrast to every other top-ten cause of death, Alzheimer’s disease has long lacked affordable and accessible ways to diagnose it. While doctors have been able to tell patients with almost 100% certainty whether they have diabetes, heart disease or cancer, until recently, Alzheimer’s was a diagnosis of exclusion.

Doctors could look for signs of Alzheimer’s. They could test memory and other cognitive skills, judge a patient’s ability to perform routine tasks, and ask their friends and family about any behavior changes. MRIs could determine brain volume, which diminishes as Alzheimer’s progresses. But blood and other diagnostic tests were used only to rule out other possible causes of their symptoms, such as B12 deficiency or thyroid disorders.

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FDA Says It Does Not Buy Fetal Tissue – Any More

Baby covered in a blanket

The Food and Drug Administration assured the Daily Caller News Foundation Friday that it has not entered into any contracts “for the purchase of human fetal tissue” since 2018.

The agency’s response follows the release of documentation obtained by Judicial Watch showing that the FDA procured fetal organs, tissue, and heads for research that involved “humanized mice.” Previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch found that the FDA requested “fresh and never frozen” fetal organs.

“I’ve been doing this for 23 years. These documents we’ve gotten from the FDA and our other lawsuit…they are the worst things I’ve ever seen,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told the Daily Caller News Foundation Friday. “The most troubling documents I’ve ever seen.”

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Former FDA Head Says CDC Guidance Hurt Pandemic Response

Scott Gottlieb

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance ultimately hindered the U.S. response to the pandemic, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in his upcoming book “Uncontrolled Spread,” set to be released Sept. 21.

Gottlieb said in the book that U.S. intelligence agencies need to play a more active role in preparing for a pandemic, as opposed to leaving plans solely to health agencies like the CDC.

“We need to have human assets in the medical community so we understand when an outbreak emerges,” Gottlieb said, Axios reported. “We need to have the capability of monitoring typical streams of intelligence, like signals intelligence and maybe even satellite intelligence, looking for things that could be trip wires for an outbreak of disease.”

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Report: Top Health Officials Tell White House to Pause Vaccine Booster Plan

Top U.S. health officials told the White House pandemic coordinator on Thursday to scale back the Biden administration’s plan to administer the coronavirus booster shots to individuals in September, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients that they need more time to collect and analyze the necessary data relating to the booster shots, The New York Times reported.

The doctors told Zients that their agencies might be able to determine whether to recommend boosters for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, according to the Times.

The two doctors presented their argument to Zients at a meeting on Thursday. It is unclear how Zients responded to the news.

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Commentary: The Clear Case for Joe Biden’s Impeachment

Alan Dershowitz says calls for the impeachment of Joe Biden are “wrong.” He claims in his most recent op-ed at the D.C. establishment’s favorite Republican rag, The Hill: “Whatever one may think of what Biden did or failed to do, it does not constitute an impeachable offense under the text of the Constitution.” With all due respect, Dershowitz is full of crap.

“The Framers,” Dershowitz writes, “insisted that a president could not be impeached unless he committed criminal-type conduct akin to treason and bribery.” If this is true, then why did President Thomas Jefferson call for the impeachment of a federal district judge on the grounds that he was “a man of loose morals and intemperate habits?” Jefferson was a prominent founder, who greatly influenced the framers of the Constitution.

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‘Require It’: Biden Tells Private Companies to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations

Man getting COVID vaccine

President Joe Biden encouraged private sector companies Monday to “step up” vaccine requirements for employees following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“If you’re a business leader, a non-profit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require it,” Biden said. “Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

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Lawyer Suing Indiana University for COVID Vaccine Mandate Expanding Effort to ‘Four or Five States’

The lawyer representing students challenging Indiana University’s COVID vaccine mandate has been “retained by students in other states to bring similar claims,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

Veteran litigator James Bopp told the John Solomon Reports podcast that he expects to file suit in another “four or five states in the next couple of weeks.”

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United Airlines to Become First Major Airline Requiring Staff be Vaccinated

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines announced Friday that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall, making it the first major airline to do so.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart announced in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

The order requiring proof of vaccination will go into effect five weeks after the Federal Drug Administration officially gives full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines, or by Oct. 25, whichever comes first, The Hill newspaper reports. The FDA is expects to start giving full approval as early as next month.

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Cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Peoria, Flagstaff Reinstate Mask Mandates Following CDC Guidance

The cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Peoria, Tempe, and Flagstaff have all announced reinstatement of their mask mandates following the updated CDC guidance. The mayors of these cities directed their officials to mandate masks in city facilities regardless of vaccination status. Tempe and Tucson’s mandate went into effect on Wednesday, Peoria’s mandate on Thursday, and Flagstaff’s mandate on Friday. Phoenix’s mandate will go into effect on Monday.

As The Arizona Sun Times reported, the CDC recommended on Tuesday that everyone – even fully-vaccinated individuals – wear masks inside public spaces where high transmission rates exist. The CDC claimed that this reversed guidance was influenced by the surge of Delta variant cases. The CDC mentioned that certain data necessitated this change, but hasn’t published it.

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FDA Asks for Internal Review of Approval Process for Alzheimer’s Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for an internal review of its own approval process that gave a greenlight to a drug to treat Alzhiemer’s, a move that could shed more light on the controversial chain of decision-making that led to the drug’s being okayed for use.

The FDA last month approved drug company BioGen’s product Aduhelm, the first medicine greenlit in the U.S. to slow the cognitive decline of those living with Alzhiemer’s.

Yet that decision was shrouded in controversy: The approval went against the advice of an outside panel of FDA experts and even led to the resignation of several of those experts in protest.

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Fully Vaccinated Do Not Need Booster for Delta Variant, CDC and FDA Say

Fully vaccinated Americans do not need to receive a booster shot to protect against the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration said in a press release.

“People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta,” a joint statement said on Thursday.

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U.S. Government Allocates $3.2 Billion for COVID-19 Antiviral Pills

Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $3.2 billion to develop and manufacture COVID-19 antiviral medicines, it announced Thursday.

The initiative, funded as part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to accelerate research into antivirals as well as build platforms for urgent response to future viral threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement Thursday. Specifically, the plan expands antiviral clinical trials, forms partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and funds “drug discovery groups” tasked with innovating new antiviral medicines.

“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in the statement.

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Study Finds Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine 90 Percent Effective

Doctor preparing COVID-19 Vaccine

Novavax announced on Monday that its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective, according to a press release on Novavax’s website.

The phase-3 trial enrolled 29,960 participants ages 18 and older in the U.S. and Mexico. The study found that 77 of the participants tested positive for COVID-19, with 63 testing positive in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group, according to the press release.

“Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection,” Stanley C. Erck, President, and CEO of Novavax said in the press release.

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