It takes an average of 14 years and $1.4 billion for a single drug to make its way through the clinical trial process and obtain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dying patients don’t have the time to deal with this kind of FDA footdragging. We have it in our power to change that, but government must get out of the way.
This week at RealClearPolicy, Goldwater Institute Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez examines the difference that innovation has made in improving patient care over the years. Yet, she writes, the work of scientific trailblazers “threatens to be stalled by government barricades to medical innovation.” Modern medicine owes so much to the groundbreaking work of individual scientists: Their bold work has resulted in the advances from which countless people have benefited. And there is so much more that scientific innovation can do to give us longer, healthier lives—if only government would embrace it.
As Lopez writes, harnessing the future of medicine for today’s patients requires that we put patients first. The good news is that we already have the tools to do just that: As we discuss in Goldwater’s recent blueprint for healthcare reform, we should expand the federal Right to Try law—which helps terminal patients access investigational medicines—so that Americans can access personalized treatments that use information about their own genes and particular conditions. Additionally, we ought to open up the lines of communication in medicine, so drug manufacturers and doctors can talk about the range of treatment options available to deliver the best care possible.
If you want to speak up and speak out about a cause you believe it, you shouldn’t have to give up your privacy to do it. But that’s a debate that’s currently taking a place at the highest levels of our government: The U.S. Supreme Court is currently examining two cases involving California’s demand that nonprofit organizations turn over their confidential donor information in order to operate in the state, while Congress is considering H.R. 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” which would strip people of their privacy rights if they speak about candidates running for office.
In the latest issue of Regulation magazine, Goldwater Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur discusses how efforts to implement anti-privacy mandates result in a “chilling effect,” with people choosing not to publicly support causes they believe in out of a fear of retaliation. He writes that “measuring a chilling effect can be hard because it is impossible to determine how many people are frightened into silence. When people choose not to speak out, there are fewer instances of overt retaliation against speakers—just because there are fewer speakers…When told that they must risk exposure and retribution for donating to causes they believe in, many people simply prefer to keep their heads down. And they’re right to be intimidated….”
Goldwater is standing up to these kinds of attacks on nonprofits’ free speech rights. We’re currently litigating on behalf of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation; after the Foundation posted a video on its Facebook page opposing a $0.02 tax on large sodas—and the city thought the video cost more than $250—the Foundation was ordered to place its donors’ information on a publicly accessible government list. That case is still pending before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth is the nation’s newest federal holiday, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. And these days, writes Timothy Sandefur at In Defense of Liberty, “it’s a particularly needed reminder of the struggles our nation has endured in living up to our founding principles and how we must always strive to live up to them even as the very core of the American idea is disparaged.”
Lately, America seems to be “constantly besieged by the voices of those who claim that the United States is a fundamentally racist nation, whose legal and political institutions are rooted in white supremacy.” But in fact, the principles on which America was founded—liberty, equality, and respect for the individual—are what the promise of Juneteenth is all about, even though we have often struggled to live up to those principles during our nation’s history.
As Sandefur writes, emancipation represented a more complete fulfillment of America’s founding ideals: “Emancipation built in the fundamental principle that each individual owns himself and has the right to use his skills to make a living and enjoy the fruits of his labors—a principle ‘deeply rooted in the American Dream,’ and specifically in the Declaration of Independence.” Juneteenth, then, rises above base politics, Sandefur says: Juneteenth “calls us back to the principles of our nation’s birth—principles we originally celebrated on July 4, and which were not abolished but fulfilled by the testament that came later. It asks us to reflect on the long and sometimes awful struggles to make a those principles a reality in our own day. It’s a day to relish our freedom to run our own lives.”
You’ve probably heard a lot recently about Critical Race Theory: It’s a perspective that seeks to explain the events and ideas in politics, education, entertainment and the media, the workplace, and beyond in terms of racial identities. And it’s taking over our nation’s schools and boardrooms: Even George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the U.S. Constitution itself are subject to being canceled out of American culture—their names are being removed from public schools, for example—for failing to satisfy the Left’s racist perspective.
On Tuesday, June 29, the Goldwater Institute will host a live video discussion about the growing use of Critical Race Theory in everyday life. Radio show host and commentator Kevin Jackson and Goldwater Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher will join Goldwater Director of Communications Mike Brownfield to explore this cultural tipping point and its corrosive impact on public discourse. They will discuss how all of us can learn from serious failures of the past while keeping alive the promise of the American Dream.