Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The FDA's War on You

I received this in an email.

Our freedoms are being taken away from us.
November 26, 2013

The FDA's War on You

Dear Laissez Faire Today Reader,

Yesterday, you read about the government's latest crusade against trans fat. Instead of reminding you that bad foods like cookies, cakes and candies contain the unhealthy substance, they're working hard to remove it from the American diet. And if delicious treats, snacks and desserts are the unintended casualties, they're willing to make that sacrifice on your behalf.

But now they're waging a different kind of war. A war against your genetics. They want to make sure you don't know anything about them.

Confused? We were too when we first came across the story. Let's go over some details.

23andMe is an innovative company that offers a unique service if you're the adventurous type. They are a popular genomics service that offers genetic testing at an affordable price. So if you want to check to see what diseases you might be predisposed to as you get older, they can help you out.

You would think that a government that's bending over backwards to make sure people get medical coverage for benefits they don't even need would find this service invaluable. But government logic doesn't work that way.

Instead, the Food and Drug Administration just banned the service because they're worried about what you might do with this information. That's right. The government doesn't want you to be too informed.

You see, they think if you take one of their genetic tests and it says you have a high risk of breast cancer, you might do something rash and have a mastectomy. Of course, most people presented with this kind of information would probably take a less drastic route. That might include more testing to make sure you actually are at risk, or changing your diet and stop eating foods that contain trans fat (solving another problem without government meddling).

But to think that people would start lining up for invasive surgeries based on a $99 test is crazy.

There could be another reason why health officials are cracking down on this test. They want their cut of the action. In the letter they sent to the company, they made it clear that this genetic test falls under the category of a medical device. As such, they need to do the proper testing and get government permission to offer their product to consumers.

Whether or not this qualifies as a medical device isn't the big issue. It's whether the government plays a role in determining whether you should have access to information regarding your own body. They've taken it upon themselves to be the guardian that withholds bad news from you because they think you might do something reckless with it. It's another case of the government taking an active role in your personal life.

But like we said yesterday when it came to trans fats, now that they're involved in the health care of millions of Americans, they have vested interest in your health and well-being. If someone decides to have an unnecessary surgery (and we think that person would be in a tiny minority), the system they're created might have to pay for that.