The FDA vs. Red Cross: Federal Vampire Hunters Living in Soviet-style Utopia

by | Dec 31, 2001

The Food and Drug Administration is currently spending its resources hunting the American Red Cross, a charitable non-profit organization that is responsible for many health advancements in America, by attempting to find ways in which the Red Cross has violated the FDA’s utopia-driven blood storage regulation. However, this phase of the FDA’s hunt has resulted […]

The Food and Drug Administration is currently spending its resources hunting the American Red Cross, a charitable non-profit organization that is responsible for many health advancements in America, by attempting to find ways in which the Red Cross has violated the FDA’s utopia-driven blood storage regulation. However, this phase of the FDA’s hunt has resulted in the FDA attempting to hold the Red Cross in contempt of a 1993 consent decree, set in place to affirm the Red Cross’s violation of FDA’s blood storage regulations. However, this FDA hunt is nothing more than a bureaucracy suffering from massive disillusions of the real world.

Most of the blood regulations are overly bureaucratic regulations that are attempting to create utopia. Of the approximately 180 pages, each containing three columns, of blood processing and storage regulation, it is a wonder any non-profit organization, that barely has funds to keep normal operations running smoothly, can be expected to follow the regulations detailed in the 180 pages of regulations.

The reason for all of these regulations is that the FDA will accept only utopian perfection and will not stop regulating until their regulations ban every potential problem, which is clearly an ideal and utopian goal that can only exist in Never Land. While everyone desires this level of perfection, reality gets in the way: utopian perfection will never work in the real world. It is almost funny, but in the Red Cross hunt, the FDA is admitting that they cannot work or achieve any results, as this consent decree is a result of years of litigation and FDA attempting to do something about the “problem” at the Red Cross. The Red Cross did meet the more practical blood storage standards of the FDA, as the FDA admitted. It is doubtful though that the improvements occurred because of the FDA, and more likely that the Red Cross’s innovations and improvements in their blood storage units came from their desire to improve their reputation in the community and subsequently their financial situation.

The FDA admits that the Red Cross distributes 45% of all blood in this country. If they are as bad as the FDA claims at storing and processing blood, doctors’ offices, hospitals (both governmental and non-governmental), and other places that use blood from the Red Cross, should stop using the Red Cross as a source of blood, and instead start obtaining the blood elsewhere. Given their 45% distribution level though, it appears the Red Cross’s customers are satisfied with the Red Cross’s blood and consequently the Red Cross’s processing of that blood. To think that the FDA was responsible for these improvements is to adhere to Leninist economics.

The FDA seems to blame this problem on the Red Cross’s corporation-like behavior, not the regulations, and the utopian vision of the FDA, which is clearly at fault. Bernard Schwetz, the Deputy Commissioner at the FDA said, “ARC [the American Red Cross] has exhibited a corporate culture that has been willing to tolerate an unacceptably low level of quality assurance and a lack of concern for the public it is supposed to serve.” The improvements at the Red Cross, which have resulted in the 45% distribution level, are a result of the corporate like incentive of the Red Cross to improve their product. Schwetz’s comments represent that of a Soviet style government, where the government can create utopia, not comments reflecting those of a government official in a predominately-capitalist country.

Despite the Red Cross’s improvements, the FDA is now asking for $10,000 per utopian regulation the American Red Cross violated. This is taking money from an agency that does much good for America’s health, and prevents them for using that money to do more good. Furthermore, the FDA is taking the money instead of encouraging the Red Cross to use the money the FDA is asking for to improve the blood handling and treatment.

In short, the FDA is unnecessarily penalizing the Red Cross, which is struggling to do the right thing, and stay in the black at the same time. If the Red Cross were not doing something right, they would not be responsible for 45% of America’s blood distribution.

Matthew R. Edgar writes for www.matthewedgar.net

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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