Expanded Regulatory Authority
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should have the authority to regulate anything that is designed to be admitted into or applied onto the human body as well as the containers designed to hold such things. Examples would include, food, medicines, lotions, shampoos, cigarettes, cups, plates, utensils, sandwich bags, food storage containers, etc.
Even Unapproved Stuff Should Be Made Available
All medications and medical procedures that are not approved by the FDA or any other government organization should not be absolutely prohibited as options to the consumer. But consumers who choose to partake of such unapproved drugs or procedures must be made aware of the fact that there may be unknown possible harmful side affects and that, as consumers, they are entitled to all of the available knowledge (from either government records, private company records, or any other source) pertaining to the drugs or procedures, their effectiveness, side effects or any other relevant information. As a condition of accepting these drugs or procedures, consumers must be willing to give up all of their rights to seek any kind of compensation if it turns out that they were harmed by their acceptance of these unapproved drugs or procedures, unless it is shown that relevant information was withheld from the consumers who were harmed. All such drugs, procedures, etc, must be clearly labeled accordingly and users must sign waivers to acknowledge the risks and assume the liability. Authorized medical professionals should naturally be the only people prescribing these drugs so that proper recording of information (administration dates, complications, general progress, etc.) is better assured. People who misrepresent these drugs (by not accurately informing users) should be punished by being disciplined by their medical industry and by the imposition of a fine that factors in the seriousness of the particular offense. This fine should be multiplied by the estimated number of patients affected.
The FDA could probably rate each approved and unapproved drug, product, or procedure on a five (or more) step scale indicating that item’s degree of safety relative to all other drugs, products, or procedures in the same category in existence. Levels 2 through 5 drugs (in the classification system below) would all be considered controlled substances, and would not be allowed to be prescribed by unauthorized medical personnel.
Level 1 approval could be classified as among the safest. In this category would be included things like drugs that could be obtained over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription.
Level 2 approval would be less safe for the average consumer, requiring such drugs to be prescribed to them by some authorized medical professional and require patients to assume some liability for any negative side effects which may result.
Level 3 classifications would include drugs or procedures that are more dangerous or experimental in nature. Patients would be required to assume some liability for any negative side effects which may result.
Level 4 classification could be labeled as experimental and would not have been approved for use and which may present significant potential negative side effects or questionable effectiveness.
Level 5 classifications would exist to specify drugs which have been positively rejected by the FDA because of proven ill effects. These Level 5 (rejected) drugs or procedures could still be used as a last resort by desperate patients who may be willing to try anything. Though significant to major negative side effects may have been associated with their usage, patients should have this option open to them after they assume all liability for the consequences.
Merge the FDA, EPA & OSHA
In addition to the above clearly stated areas of FDA jurisdiction, it may be logically justifiable to extend its jurisdiction so that it would be able to regulate any environmental pollutant that may have a detrimental effect on human beings. Many of these functions would undoubtedly overlap with the EPA. While we’re at it, other agencies related to ensuring human health and safety should be merged into one unified organization.
Thus, the FDA, the EPA and even OSHA should probably be merged into one organization and given a name that would more accurately describe its functions. Within this unified agency, there should exist separate departments that focus on dealing with the health and safety of human food sources (including medicines and topical products like creams, shampoos, etc.), manufactured product safety (toaster ovens, paints, telephones, etc.), the regulation of macro-level environmental pollutants (soot, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, etc.), and workplace safety and ergonomic product designs.
Chemical ‘Clean’ List
All chemicals (old or new) that are incorporated into any anthropogenic product must pass basic environmental health safety tests and be placed on a ‘clean’ list of approved chemicals.
Such a list could be referred to by anyone else who is in the market for a new chemical to use in any other product. The decision of a person to use any chemical on this approved list would ensure that that person would not need to subject the chemical to any fundamental health and safety tests, thus saving them lots of time and expense.
The default government regulatory position should be for all new chemicals to automatically be placed on a ‘prohibited’ list until such chemicals have passed the proper human and environmental safety tests. Chemicals which have passed would then be placed on the ‘clean’ list, eligible for use.
Instead of chemicals being assumed safe until being proven dangerous, they should be assumed dangerous until being proven safe. This would naturally increase the cost of introducing new chemicals into the environment and thus, naturally encourage people to use existing chemicals for whatever products they want to produce. A beneficial side effect of such a policy would be that a larger body of evidence would accumulate faster and be available to help speed up the declaration of safe or unsafe chemicals already in existence.