By: Mark Hyman
Congress passes about 300 laws in a typical year. But federal bureaucrats enact more than 3,000 regulations annually. Hundreds of regulations have the impact of law. But they often don’t receive appropriate scrutiny before they’re put into effect. And they can sometimes be very dangerous – even deadly.
Consider the Food and Drug Administration and similar agencies regulating healthcare. The number of prescription drug shortages hit an all-time high last year.
267 critical drugs such as those used in surgery, chemotherapy or to fight pain and infection had shortages.
Some hospitals were forced to buy drugs on the black market. At least 15 patient deaths in 2010 were blamed on critical drug shortages.
Drug shortages have increased dramatically in recent years. There were only 58 drugs in short supply in 2004.
Government production quotas and price controls are the main culprits for drug shortages.
The FDA limits drug production outputs. When shortages arise it can take months or even years for a pharmaceutical company to get approval to increase production.
Government price controls including Medicare reimbursement rates can make drug sales unprofitable forcing drug companies to limit or even stop production.
The situation will only get worse as federal bureaucrats write new regulations as ObamaCare goes into effect.
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.