THE FDA'S HISTORY is one of incompetence, fraud, deceit and the continuous striving for more power. Over the past 25 years, the Food and Drug Administration has sought to gain authoritarian control that Congress never intended it to have. In every attempt to seize this kind of power, the FDA has been beaten back by a swell of public protest.
The FDA has just launched a disinformation campaign to deceive Congress into believing that the agency needs to "protect" the public from health information on the Internet. The FDA is seeking ten million tax dollars a year to attack alternative health and pharmacy websites. If the FDA convinces Congress to give it the power and money to do this, American consumers will be denied access to innovative therapies, and will be forced to pay a good deal more for the nutrient and drug therapies the FDA allows them to buy over the Internet.
One of the FDA's proposals is to be able to fine Internet pharmacies $500,000 every time they dispense a drug without a prescription authorized by the agency. With this kind of excessive fining power, the FDA will be able to bankrupt any online pharmacy it targets. To make it easy for them to shut down large numbers of websites, the FDA wants the power to issue subpoenas without first obtaining a court order, a totalitarian tactic the American public revolted against when the agency proposed it in 1990. Finally, the FDA says it wants to set up a "rapid response team" to identify, investigate and prosecute websites. In other words, the FDA is seeking to establish an army of cyberspace storm troopers to enable it to shut down large numbers of websites quickly.
The alleged purpose of these new powers is to "target and punish those who engage in illegal drug sales over the Internet." This may sound reasonable to the average person, but as members of The Life Extension Foundation well know, the FDA's history is one of ineptitude and corruption that has caused millions of Americans to suffer and die needlessly. In 1994, the FDA Museum was established to document FDA malfeasance, and show that the agency hasn't the scientific legitimacy to be allowed to police the healthcare of the American people.
A flagrant example of FDA deception can be found in their current attempt to control the Internet. The FDA has identified one person who died after obtaining Viagra from a web pharmacy without a prescription. The FDA is using this one death as an example of why the FDA needs to impose dictatorial power over all health websites. One problem with this position is that, as of November 1998, at least 130 Americans died from taking Viagra legally prescribed by their doctors. (The total number of Viagra-related deaths for 1999 has not yet been calculated.) The FDA approved Viagra as being safe, even though many Americans have died when the drug has been legally prescribed. The FDA failed to detect the lethal side effects of Viagra, yet it is now seeking gestapo-like power to attack any Internet health company it wishes to, without due process. It's time for the public speak up again to let Congress know that this kind of FDA tyranny will not be tolerated by tax payers.
Why Internet Regulation is Doomed to Fail
The powers the FDA is seeking are unconstitutional, and the agency has neither the competence nor the integrity to police the Internet, but even if it did, it would be impractical for the agency to do so. There are currently an estimated 8,000 health sites on the Internet. If Congress gives the FDA $10 million a year, the best the agency could do is shut down a couple of hundred sites a year. Within a few years, the FDA would create a litigation monster whose appetite would far exceed their $10 million annual budget. The FDA would be bogged down in a quagmire of judicial proceedings, while thousands of new health websites would be springing up that the agency would be at an utter loss to control.
The end result of the FDA's war against the free flow of information on the Internet would be tens of millions of tax dollars wasted, with less so-called consumer "protection" than exists today.
The FDA Already Has The Legal Power It Needs
The charade the FDA is parading before Congress is that they need more money and stricter laws to regulate e-commerce. The facts are that the FDA already has the regulatory structure to "protect" the consumer on the Internet. Much of what the FDA wants is already covered by existing Federal and State law, but the agency is seeking to add another bureaucratic layer of law and money to suppress the dissemination of health information.
An Alternative Proposal
The FDA has its own website (www.fda.gov). For a fraction of the cost of becoming the health police of the Internet, the agency could post its own evaluation of alternative health websites that it thought were promoting fraudulent or dangerous products. Americans would then be free to make their own decisions about whether to believe what the FDA says about health websites.
However, the FDA has no interest in trying to persuade Americans with evidence. It wants (and has always wanted) authoritarian powers and as much money as possible from Congress because it is a political organization rather than a scientific one. As a result, FDA suppression of information has been, historically, the leading cause of death in the United States, while adverse reactions to FDA approved drugs is currently the 4th-to-6th leading cause of death. Clearly, the FDA lacks the constitutional authority, the competence, the integrity or the scientific credibility to be given additional power and money to police the Internet.
We encourage Foundation members to defend the Constitution against the FDA's latest attempt to gain repressive power over the individual's right to choose. Please send the following letter (and/or your own letter) to your Congressional representative and to the other three names listed below.
For longer life,