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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 24

January 23, 2011

FDA is starting to cause more harm than good

To the editor:
There are costs and benefits to every action. The consideration of costs and benefits helps ensure that we make good decisions.
Businesses both big and small always consider costs and benefits. A dairy farmer considering whether or not he should buy another cow looks at the cost to feed, house and care for an additional cow. He also considers the benefits that would come with an additional cow such as an increase in milk production. At the end of the day, the dairy farmer will choose to buy an additional cow if the marginal benefits of an additional cow are greater than the marginal costs. This ensures maximum profits for the dairy farmer, which is the best possible outcome.
Unfortunately, our federal government does not seem to be as concerned about both costs and benefits.
We all know the benefits of the FDA. They test our food and medications to make sure they are safe and they have saved many lives as a result. But most people do not realize that many people have died because of these efforts.
FDA regulations have effectively decreased pharmaceutical innovations because of compliance costs. The FDA has made it so the costs of producing a new drug outweigh the financial benefits. Decreases in pharmaceutical innovation have real costs to ill people. Additionally, when the FDA holds a drug back from going to market, people who could use that drug to live no longer have it as an option. Countless times the drugs they hold back are perfectly safe and people die as a result.
Many economists estimate that the human costs associated with the FDA outweigh the benefits. Meaning the FDA has killed more people than it has saved; see research by Sam Peltzman. To be clear, no one is denying the FDA has saved lives. The point is when looking at anything, we must consider both the benefits and the costs. Especially when human lives are on the table.
 
Andrew Joliet
Hagerstown

School’s anti-gang program isn’t working


To the editor:
I am writing this letter because I am a parent of a child who attends North Hagerstown High School and I am fed up.
Every day, children attend school and are harassed, threatened and verbally abused by these gangs. The school is aware of the ongoing problem and is working with the Gang Task Force, but it is not working.
The school policy states that if they do gang signs or wear the gang colors that they could be suspended.
So why haven’t they been suspended? It is witnessed by teachers and other students, but they seem to be turning a blind eye to these particular students. Is that because they are on the sports teams or because they are afraid?

Dawn Taylor
Hagerstown

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