RON HART: 23andMe

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 16:25 PM.

We now have a government in Washington that feels it is in charge of everything, yet responsible for nothing.

When our government is not in charge of something, it inserts itself into the enterprise, as is the case with the FDA’s recent attempt to halt the sale of 23andMe DNA tests. Our government looked around the value-added business of personal genetic diagnostics and decided one thing was missing: government did not have a say-so.

This is more about government control than it is about what is good for us. Studies show the FDA has caused more deaths through its slow government bureaucracy than it has prevented. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith stated in “Free to Choose Medicine,” inherent in the one-size-fits-all regulatory bureaucracy is the incentive to delay rather than approve a drug or medical procedure that could save lives. FDA bureaucrats assume everyone has the same view of risk that they do and that they know more than the doctor or patient.

In the case of 23andMe, the FDA based its injunction on defining the rudimentary, $1 test tube you spit in as a “medical device.” If it wants you, government will get you.

Competition protects consumers more than government does. Like all federal agencies, the FDA is politically motivated. It has an agenda. And like ObamaCare, it is also a mess — a case of the left hand not knowing what the far left hand is doing.

Environmentalists concerned about losing salmon in rivers due to overfishing forced the FDA to approve genetically engineered salmon. If they can engineer a fish that can swim upstream against powerful currents, the Democrats will run those fish for Congress in 2014.

The FDA was politically motivated to quickly approve the “Plan B” morning-after contraceptive for women. I’d like to market a morning-after pill for men; it would change your DNA and your cell phone number the next day.



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