There are indications that Donald Trump is prepared to radically shake-up one of the most deadly Federal agencies: the FDA.
Ever since Bloomberg reported in December that Jim O’Neill, managing director at Mithril Capital Management and noted FDA-critic, was being considered for the position, there has been reason to hope that Trump was considering a libertarian approach to the agency. Considering the influence Peter Theil , noted-libertarian and Hoppe-pal, wields in Trump’s inner orbit – and the PayPal’s founder’s personal interests in biotech – it makes sense that this is one area where Theil could leave a mark.
And it seems that’s exactly what is happening.
After a month with little news coming out on the position, President-elect Trump met Friday with not only with O’Neill but another Theil-associate, Balaji S. Srinivasan.
Following the meeting, Srinivasan began deleting his Twitter history, leading many to speculate that he has secured the position.
What do you need to know about Srinivasan?
He also wants to get the FDA out of the way.
Some of his recently deleted tweets contained gems that should excite any libertarian.
For example, he has called the organization an “enormous drag on innovation” which “drive up healthcare costs significantly” and represents ” bureaucracy at its finest.” Along with retweeting the message that the “FDA needs an Edward Snowden.”
In one series of tweets, he outlined why he thinks the market can protect customers better than a government agency:
This is exactly the sort of approach we’ve long needed at the FDA. As Dr. Timothy Terrell noted in 2015 on Mises.org, FDA over-regulation doesn’t just cost money – it ends lives:
The American public tends to think of the FDA as a protector against dangerous side effects, as we saw with Thalidomide decades ago. But how many Americans have died because of lags in approval? A five-year delay in bringing the antibiotic Septra to the US market may have cost 80,000 lives. A lag in the approval of beta blockers may have cost 250,000 lives.1 The FDA’s ban on advertising aspirin as an effective preventer of first heart attacks may have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year. But because it’s easy to identify those harmed by side effects, and difficult to identify who might have been saved by earlier introduction of Septra to the marketplace, the FDA tends to be over-conservative in its regulatory process.
Should Srinivasan (or O’Neill) indeed be tapped to head the FDA, it will be hard for previously #NeverTrump libertarians to continue to challenge Walter Block that his election over Hillary Clinton was a net-positive. This single hire has the potential to literally save millions of lives.