One consequence of strict FDA rules on drug approvals is that it is really expensive to improve sunscreen. The Washington Post has a new story titled "FDA review of new sunscreen ingredients has languished for years, frustrating advocates." The rules protect against allowing the marketing of a product that is not safe and effective, but at the expense of not allowing the marketing of some products that are safe and effective. Approvals of bad products come back to haunt an agency but denials of good products typically do not. This leads bureaucrats to tend to be over-cautious. Fortunately in this case, we can observe the product in use elsewhere.
“These sunscreens are being used by tens of millions of people every weekend in Europe, and we’re not seeing anything bad happening,” said Darrell S. Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University and past president of the American Academy of Dermatologists. “It’s sort of crazy. . . . We’re depriving ourselves of something the rest of the world has.”
Since 10,000 Americans die of melanoma every year, this delay has real consequences for consumers. How many people did the FDA kill this year?
Hat tip: Alex Tabarrok