Following on Gov. Rick Perry’s call for “some provocative language in this country” during last week’s GOP debate at the Reagan Library, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said federal drug regulations “don’t take good care of us.”
Paul, a medical doctor (OB/GYN), and the “absolutist in the bunch,” according to NBC debate moderator Brian Williams, defended his privatization agenda on theoretical grounds, before being pressed by Williams on the drug industry specifically.
Playing devil’s advocate, Williams asked Paul: “Would you put it on drug companies to say, ‘No, we’re bringing this to market, trust us, it’s a fantastic drug’?” To which Paul responded, in part, “Who ends up doing the regulations on the drugs? The bureaucrats write the regulations, but who writes the laws? The lobbyists have control, so lobbyists from the drug industry have control of writing the regulations, so you turn it over to the bureaucracy.”
Paul then transitioned from the drug industry to the automotive industry, asking, “Do we need the federal government to tell us whether we [are] buying a safe car?” Somewhere, Ralph Nader grimaced. But are pharmaceuticals unsafe at any speed?
“I will always err on the side of saving lives,” said Perry, defending his decision to mandate HPV vaccinations – namely Merck’s Gardasil – in the state of Texas. “I hate cancer,” he said. Perry mandated HPV vaccination by executive order after a successful lobbying gambit by Merck, but the law was overturned by the state legislature. Paul criticized the move during the debate, and Perry conceded that he could have handled things differently, mentioning that there was an opt-out clause in the vaccination mandate. To which Rick Santorum responded, “How about parental rights being more important than state’s rights? How about having, instead of an opt-out, an opt-in?”
Perry, who at one point during the HPV vaccination discussions said he “kind of feel[s] like the piñata at the party,” mentioned that Texas “passed a $3 billion cancer initiative that same legislative session, of which we’re trying to find over the next 10 years cures to cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV.”