Representatives Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston voted YES to increasing the cost of prescription medications. Their vote also delayed the sale of life saving medications and this costs lives. They did this by voting for HJR 77 that continues to fully fund the Food and Drug Administration.
Among the many missions of the FDA is to be, “responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and …” Efficacy is whether or not something works. This greatly increases the costs of bringing medications to the market. Approval by the FDA can also greatly increase the cost of generic medications if the FDA approves them.
Perhaps a greater problem is the long time for the approval process that delays getting life saving medications to the market.
It is not safety but efficacy that increases the cost and time that it takes to get life saving medications to the market.
Most patients would rather have their physician, not some national bureaucrat, deciding which medication is best. Conservatives should understand this and scrutinize agencies like the FDA to find areas that can eliminate unnecessary spending while at the same time increasing the public good. They should realize that the FDA is not authorized to determine efficacy.
The Constitutional authority statement reads for HJR 77 reads:
H.J. Res. 84. Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: The principal constitutional authority for this legislation is clause 7 of section 9 of article I of the Constitution of the United States (the appropriation power), which states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . .” In addition, clause 1 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution (the spending power) provides: “The Congress shall have the Power . . . to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States . . .” Together, these specific constitutional provisions establish the congressional power of the purse, granting Congress the authority to appropriate funds, to determine their purpose, amount, and period of availability, and to set forth terms and conditions governing their use.
It is true that Congress can collect money by taxes and spend money on the laws they make. However, there is a catch. The laws must be constitutional. This authority statement does not reference where the Constitution has the power to regulate pharmaceuticals.
Article VI, Clause 3, says that Senators and Representatives “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.” They should take this vow seriously and give a legitimate constitutional reason as to why they think the FDA is a constitutional agency.
Our country was not founded as a unitary government where the national government makes the laws and the rest of the country follows them. We were founded as a constitutional federation where the federal government has limited powers and the states have almost unlimited power.