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Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year. New Post. Again.

Remember me? 

No apologies, no excuses. Here's why I'm here. I did a lot of writing on social media the past three days about the FDA trying to suddenly charge small distillers a fee for making hand sanitizer. And as I was putting up a final post this morning, I thought; this is kinda long-form. I'd have been blogging this ten years ago. Why not now? Because the problem with social media is that it reminds me of Keats's epitaph: "written in water." You can't find it, you can't go back and refer to it. I mean, you can, but it's not easy. 

I'll try this again. I hate wasting my writing. 

Here's what I wrote this morning on Facebook. 

So...just a final follow-up to the whole small distillery FDA fee fiasco over the past three days. To recap: FDA suddenly announced Tuesday evening that the distillers who stepped up and made hand sanitizer (at cost, or as a donation) were going to have to pay a $14,060 fee as OTC drug manufacturers. There was a huge outcry, and then the chief of staff of the HHS Secretary (FDA reports to them) got involved and squashed it, hard. We win! 

But...I've since seen people blaming Trump for this, and much as I'd love to hop on that bandwagon, because screw that guy, it's just not the case this time. Facts matter, we keep saying about the crazy things Trump and his merry followers say...which means they matter for us, too. 

Here's the deal, and I'm pretty sure about all of this. I know this for a fact: Congress decided years ago that FDA cost too much (WHAT? How much is safety worth?), and Big Pharma really needed the FDA, and Big Pharma had lots of money, so...they started making FDA a fee-funded agency, and cut their budget. I suspect that this led to a small bureaucracy within a bureaucracy at the FDA that was dedicated to finding new sources of revenues; i.e., creating new fees. Inevitable, really. 

So if you want to blame someone -- I know I do! -- blame Congress. Don't bother with a party -- they're almost always both complicit in under-the-radar stuff like this -- and oddly enough, don't blame Trump, for a change; it was actually the HHS Secretary (a Trump appointee) that had his chief of staff squash this so rapidly. As my mom says, even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.

Let's keep it honest. It's a new year, that's a good place to start.

Maybe I'm back, maybe I'm not. We'll see. It's a new year, that's a good place to start.