Health Regulations — By and For Zombies

This publication…such as it is…and in case you haven’t noticed… is on its own, and most would say, out in left field. We and we alone are on ‘Zombie Watch’.

Which is to say, nobody else seems to understand what feds’ money printing and deficit-financed bail-outs, and redistributions are for: paying off the zombies. The longer they go on… the more zombies there are.

But let us leave zombie theory and move on to zombie practice.

Yesterday, in the very expensive offices of a very expensive law firm in the very expensive City of London, we met with four zombies. On the table was a discussion of how a company could publish the views and opinions of various experts – mostly MDs – on health… without going to jail.

Health, medicine, drugs, food and supplements are heavily regulated in Britain and Europe… just as they are in the US. You can read the laws…if you dare. You’re not likely to know much more after you read them than you did before.

They insist that opinions on health must be ‘fair’, ‘balanced’, ‘based on reliable testing’ and impeccable ‘research’. What this really means is that it has to pass muster with the mainstream health establishment. The regulators are ignoramuses themselves. They turn to ‘experts’ to tell them what is okay for publishing and what isn’t.

That leaves the publisher of ‘alternative’ ideas and opinions in a tight spot. You may recall Dr Atkins. Back in the ’90s, Dr Atkins came to us and asked us to publish his newsletter. We agreed. We stood behind the First Amendment and let fly with Dr Atkins’ theories on why the American high-sugar, low-fat diet was all wrong.

The establishment didn’t like it. They had staked their careers on the idea that ‘fat’ was the number one problem, leading to heart disease and other ailments. They called Atkins a quack and tried to take away his medical licence. Atkins eventually won that battle. But not without a lot of scars.

In Europe and the UK there is no First Amendment. What you can say about health is regulated. And the regulators, as always, are in the pocket of the big, established industries they are supposed to regulate.

A new competitor – with different, contradictory or gamey ideas – is at a big disadvantage. He’d better be careful, or his competitors will rat him out and the regulator will get on his case.

‘Basically, you can’t say anything that is not approved,’ said one $500-an-hour lawyer.

‘Well, you can say what you want…’ said an associate at $250-an-hour, ‘but you have to be sure it meets all the tests and criteria. You can’t say one of the things that has been proscribed, for example.’

‘You mean there are specific things that you can’t say?’ we asked naively.

‘Oh yes. There’s a list of 1,280 things that by regulation or court decision have been found unacceptable.’

‘But what if our expert doctor really believes the contrary is true?’ we continued.

‘Well, he just can’t publish it.’

The conversation continued for an hour and a half. Estimated cost: $3,200.

Result? None. The system is rigged in the zombies’ favour. Zombie pharmaceutical businesses are protected from competition by zombie regulators. Upstarts must hire zombie lawyers to figure out how to remain at liberty while still doing business.

This is, of course, the ‘complexity’ that Joseph Tainter describes in his book explaining how societies collapse. They add layer upon layer of ‘complexity’. Each layer costs money (resources). Finally, the society can no longer afford it. It declines and falls.

From the Archives…

The Trade Deficit Dilemma That’s Alive and Well
14-12-12 – Greg Canavan

The Fed’s Poppycock Monetary Policy Targets the Unemployment Rate
13-12-12- Dan Denning

The Price of Risk in the Stock Market
12-12-12 – Murray Dawes

Recessions the World Over
11-12-12 – Dan Denning

A Victory Over the Zombies!
10-11-12 – Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.

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when the rule of law becomes the rule of lawyer

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