Jordan Reimschisel joins the podcast today to talk about his recent piece in RealClearHealth regarding the FDA and slowing medical innovation. He argues that the process of the FDA is based off a warped incentive structure that places excessive caution ahead of innovation that could save lives.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions met to consider legislation that would reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs. These programs make up a large part of the agency’s budget. This process will continue over the next several weeks.
Earlier this month, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce also held a hearing to consider improvements to the regulation of medical technologies. This will most likely become a part of the reauthorization legislation. While an admirable goal, the true goal that policy makers should pursue is to create an environment in which innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive with as few barriers as possible.
Cities and suburbs are getting clobbered by the collapse of the retail sector. But there are ways to use the crisis as a way to speed long-overdue land use reforms.
The proliferation of half-vacant shopping centers and abandoned malls on the fringes of cities has become such a pervasive problem that we have a new word for it: greyfields. Chances are you have a few in your community: acres of paved parking with weeds creeping through the cracks and a dilapidated big-box structure standing in the middle. They’re the increasingly hard-to-ignore manifestation of what’s often described as the retail meltdown. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail sector lost approximately 30,000 jobs in March alone, with thousands of store closings projected through 2017. At this pace, store closings in 2017 are likely to surpass the Great Recession year of 2008.
Last Wednesday, Uber announced that residents of San Francisco could call rides in autonomous vehicles. In response, the CaliforniaDepartment of Motor Vehicles issued a cease-and-desist letter to Uber saying that their testing of autonomous vehicles was illegal. This display of the “precautionary principle,” though well-intentioned, hurts entrepreneurship. To foster innovation and growth of self-driving vehicles, California should allow Uber to test its cars and rely on the legal system to provide redress for any harms.
In their letter to Uber, the California DMV said:
“California Vehicle Code Section 38750 and California Code of Regulations Article 3.7 clearly establish that an autonomous vehicle may be tested on public roads only if the vehicle manufacturer, including anyone that installs autonomous technology on a vehicle, has obtained a permit to test such vehicles from the DMV.”
However, Uber’s vehicles are not considered autonomous vehicles under the laws referenced in the letter. California Vehicle Code Section 38750 defines an autonomous vehicle as “any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle.” And it defines autonomous technology as “technology that has the capability to drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.” The code also defines an operator as “the person who is seated in the driver’s seat.”
Recently, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a short study on airport noise complaints. In the study, Eli Dourado and Raymond Russell examined data released by several U.S. airports with dedicated hotlines for these public complaints. They found that in almost all of the airports examined, a vast majority of the complaints were voiced by one or two people. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cannot allow this vocal minority to dictate the regulation they impose on the aviation industry.
In 2015, Reagan National Airport received more than 8,700 complaints. Of those complaints, almost 7,000 were traced back to only two individuals who lived in the same house in Northwest D.C., more than 5 miles away from the airport. That’s almost 80% of the noise complaints recorded that year. On average, this means that those two people called the airport 19 times per day for the entire year. Assuming these individuals sleep for eight hours per night, they would have had to call Reagan National once every 50 minutes of their waking lives last year!
This is not unique. Many large airports around the country have to deal with the same person calling over and over. In Seattle, hotline operators got so tired of hearing from the same caller that they stopped creating transcripts of her complaints as they did for other calls. They simply tallied up her calls at the end of each month and added a note saying, “Same complaint over and over. Records a/c flying over.”