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Month: June 2020

Burned Tort Lawyers Plead Guilty to $200 Million Extortion Racket

Late last year, we covered the criminal case against Virginia-based attorney Timothy Litzenburg and his partners.

He was accused of approaching an international agrochemical company, presumably Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, and threatening to weaponize the media and courts against them unless they gave his law firm $200 million.

The aim was to use recent verdicts to claim glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is a dangerous carcinogen, even though hundreds of studies by reputable bodies, including the FDA, have said there is no evidence for that claim.

In court, it was revealed that Litzenburg’s firm threatened Monsanto by pitching them a massive “consulting agreement” that would make future cases against them from the firm invalid because of the conflict of interest. The hope was that the company would back down and the lawyers would make off with a huge payday.

Last Friday, Timothy Litzenburg, of Charlottesville, and his partner, Daniel Kincheloe each pleaded guilty to extortion after a short trial. They will face sentencing in September.

Litzenburg and Kincheloe also admitted that after making their demand for $200 million from the company, they registered a Virginia corporation for the purpose of receiving money from the company, and that they agreed to split the funds among themselves and their associates, and to not distribute any of the money the company paid them as purported “consulting fees” to their existing clients. Litzenburg and Kincheloe admitted that after making their demand for $200 million, Litzenburg threatened that they and others would commence litigation that would become “an ongoing and exponentially growing problem for [Company 1], particularly when the media inevitably takes notice[,]” and that such litigation would cost Company 1 and its publicly-traded parent company “billions, setting aside the associated drop in stock price and reputation damage.”

WHSV

This case is important because it peels back some layers on our nation’s vastly complicated tort or injury legal system, a pernicious cyclone of veiled threats, millions of dollars, unethical standards, and huge settlements to lawyers that often leave truly injured plaintiffs in the dust.

The incentives that exist in the American legal system make it possible for virtually any legal firm to trump up a case against companies or individuals. Often times, companies will choose to settle these cases for large amounts rather than have the case gain publicity, even if there was no actual harm or injury.

In a sense, the bigger a company is, the more likely they are to have a target on their back, no matter the claim that is brought up in court.

Though there are plenty of legitimate tort cases in which people have been harmed, there are just as many that are just outright frivolous and have no legal merit. Just think of the various cases against Google Maps because people took a wrong route and were struck by a car, or against Burger King because it’s meatless burgers aren’t really “vegan”.

Because the number of cases that can be heard by judges and juries is limited in a given year, the existence of these types of cases means that other cases, with real greviences won’t get heard.

And even if cases with real harms are eventually brought to court, it’s highly likely the plaintiffs will only receive a fraction of their deserved restitution.

It’s a system that overwhelmingly benefits injury lawyers at the expense of those they are supposed to represent.

Earlier this year, an analysis of large class-action lawsuits compiled by the law firm Jones Day found that that class members received an average of just 23 percent of eventual payouts — sometimes in the billions of dollars — and close to two-thirds went straight to lawyers instead.

These large settlements end up costing companies and the consumers that suffer from higher prices, not to mention the hundreds of potential plaintiffs who are not able to have their civil cases quickly heard.

Licensing laws in the public health sector

On June 17th 2020, the Innovation, Brands and Intellectual Property Intergroup sent an open letter Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan about the COVID-19 crisis and the risk of Licensing Laws to the production and supply of essential goods to the population.

Under licensing laws, a government has the power to revoke patent rights from innovators or companies if a discovery they made would provide vital treatment or protection related to a national health emergency. Under these laws, another organization can also reproduce and distribute the product without prior consent from the patent-holder. If the patent owner does not comply, they may face heavy fines from the government.

“If European and third-countries’ companies are prevented from retaining their patent licenses, this could hinder furtherly the production and supply of essential goods to the population.”

“A compulsory licensing bill could place even more barriers for pharmaceutical groups trying to make a profit, which could further discourage these kinds of companies from registering in any EU Member State.”

Compulsory licensing is threatening to move the goalposts on how intellectual property rights are protected; it should only be used in a state of national emergency. However, the interpretation of the notion of “health emergency” can be fuzzy.

“There are other grey areas still to be addressed over compulsory licensing as well as there are many ways to make easier access to vaccines: for example, a mutual recognition of FDA and EMA and fast-tracking procedures for some type of medicines. During tough times, decision-makers are requested to restore certainty to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, this crisis compels us to be one step ahead and anticipate issues.”

The letter was signed by:

Gianna GANCIA MEP
Fulvio MARTUSCIELLO MEP
Lucia VUOLO MEP
Massimiliano SALINI MEP
Patrizia POIA MEP
Ivan STEFANEC MEP
Anna- Michelle ASSIMAKOPOULOU MEP
Lukas MANDL MEP
Radan KANEV MEP
Fred ROEDER, Managing Director Consumer Choice Center

FULL LETTER CAN BE SEEN BELOW:


[Marketing Medium] L’interdiction des vols domestiques sera une catastrophe pour la mobilité des consommateurs

Paris, FR – Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, secrétaire d’État aux Transports, a confirmé le souhait du gouvernement d’interdire les vols intérieurs quand une alternative en TGV de moins de 2h30 est disponible. Ceci concerne la majorité des vols domestiques en France métropolitaine. Pour Bill Wirtz, analyste de politiques publiques pour l’Agence pour le choix des consommateurs (Consumer Choice Center), le rail n’est pas une alternative viable pour beaucoup de voyageurs.

source http://meltwater.pressify.io/publication/5ef1a81d07369a0004e6d04f/5aa837df2542970e001981f6

[Marketing Medium] L’interdiction des vols domestiques sera une catastrophe pour la mobilité des consommateurs

Paris, FR – Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, secrétaire d’État aux Transports, a confirmé le souhait du gouvernement d’interdire les vols intérieurs quand une alternative en TGV de moins de 2h30 est disponible. Ceci concerne la majorité des vols domestiques en France métropolitaine. Pour Bill Wirtz, analyste de politiques publiques pour l’Agence pour le choix des consommateurs (Consumer Choice Center), le rail n’est pas une alternative viable pour beaucoup de voyageurs.

from Consumer Choice Center https://ift.tt/3dodU8Y

Cigarette and alcohol bans are unprecedented and misguided

Policies that were intended to make a public health crisis more manageable could end up adding fuel to the fire and be the last straw for the health system to collapse.


While South Africa’s alcohol ban has been partially relaxed, smokers and vapers are still being deprived of purchasing both cigarettes and e-liquids.

What was first a temporary health measure in March, during the early days of the lockdown, has now moved well beyond temporary and is actively infringing on South African’s freedom to choose.

Luckily, South Africa has not been one of the worst countries hit by Covid-19. That said, the country’s public policy response to fully ban the sale of alcohol and nicotine is one of the most heavy-handed in the world.

As a nicotine consumer in the United Kingdom, one of the most impacted countries globally, I was always able to go to my local corner store and purchase new vape cartridges or a pack of cigarettes. In normal times, these products are a nice distraction from a stressful day.

During an unprecedented lockdown, it played an important role in keeping me sane, allowing me to deal with the reality of having my movement limited, something that billions of people experienced for the first time.

In reflecting on my ability to purchase these products during the pandemic, it becomes quite clear that SA President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bans were a massive overreach. The ban was justified by the president under the banner of public health, but wasbased on flawed science.

While Ramaphosa justified the ban to protect the respiratory systems of South Africans, nicotine consumption might actually be beneficial to patients as it might prevent and reduce the likelihood of strong Covid-19 symptoms. Against scientific evidence, he and his health minister stated that smokers would benefit from the ban and announced an extension of the ban.

It looks like this policy had more to do with forcing smokers to quit cold turkey, than having anything to do with Covid-19.

And, while consumers and retailers in South Africa suffer from this government overreach, organised crime and the black market flourish.

Global networks, such as BBC and CNN, featured stories about booming alcohol and cigarette black market businesses in times of lockdowns, which acted as a real stimulus programme for illegal dealers.

When walking in my local grocery store in London, I see significant efforts from staff to keep the place clean, have as little interaction with clients, and keep physical contact to a minimum. All of this helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

Illegal dealers don’t comply with public health recommendations to help stop the spread of the virus because they are already engaging in illegal acts. Banning the sale of these products doesn’t mean that South Africans won’t be buying them, it just means that they won’t be getting them in safe, legal settings. An increase in black market activity puts more citizens at risk for spreading the virus, which is a losing scenario for everyone involved.

The danger from increased demand for illegal cigarettes or bootleg alcohol doesn’t end with the spread of the virus. Poor, and often dangerous, product quality could further strain South Africa’s public health system. We know from decades of observation that black market products are far riskier for consumers.

While committing these illegal acts, dealers and producers almost always cut corners, which just exacerbates the existing public health concerns that exist for alcohol and nicotine.

Simply put, in trying to stop South Africans from consuming alcohol or nicotine, Ramaphosa has pushed his citizens into the hands of criminal actors, and the dangerous products that they sell.

Policies that were intended to make a public health crisis more manageable could end up adding fuel to the fire and be the last straw for the health system to collapse.

South Africa should end the ban on product sales as soon as possible and follow countries like the UK, Brazil, Canada or Germany and legalise the sale of nicotine products.

– Fred Roeder is managing director of the Consumer Choice Center, a consumer advocacy group that has received funding from the tobacco, cannabis, energy, consumer goods and vaping industries.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

agrimanet

În ultimele două decenii, Europa a decis să meargă de una singura în politicile agricole. În timp ce atât America de Nord, cât și America de Sud și, de asemenea, Japonia s-au mutat într-o agricultură modernă și mai mult bazată pe tehnologie, Europa a mers înapoi și continuă să interzică progresele și metodele noi din agricultură. În discuțiile comerciale recente, diplomații americani de top au râs în mod repetat de cadrul de reglementare al UE, considerându-l invechit.

„Trebuie să eliminăm constrângerile pentru adoptarea de noi abordări și tehnologii inovatoare, inclusiv restricții de reglementare excesiv de greoaie și inutile.”

Acestea au fost cuvintele secretarului agriculturii din SUA, Sonny Perdue, într-o declaratie publicată de Euractiv în februarie. Într-o manieră ceva mai puțin diplomatică, ambasadorul SUA în Regatul Unit, Woody Wilson, a caracterizat abordarea agriculturii de catre UE ca fiind un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”.

Atât Perdue, cât și Wilson susțin că restricțiile Uniunii Europene asupra tehnologiei agricole moderne nu sunt durabile și limitează sever acordurile comerciale viitoare.

A judeca dacă acestea sunt corecte sau nu, nu este legat de cât de mult iubești sau urăști Statele Unite, ci cât de mult îți place sau urăști stabilitatea prețurilor la produsele alimentare. Noi, europenii, putem fi judecătorii acestui lucru.

Să evaluăm situația așa cum este. Atât agricultura convențională, cât și cea ecologică se ocupă de dăunătorii de care trebuie să scape pentru a nu pune în pericol securitatea alimentară și stabilitatea prețurilor pentru consumatori. Ambele necesită substanțe chimice ca parte a instrumentelor de protecție a culturilor.

Așa cum se intampla in Africa, invazia de lăcuste pot fi devastatoare pentru securitatea alimentară, iar știința climatică ne permite să detectăm că anumiti dăunători vor veni din locuri îndepărtate spre zonele noastre mai devreme, ceea ce face ca insecticidele să fie necesare. Pentru a evita ciupercile și micotoxinele mortale, folosim fungicide.

Din punct de vedere politic, aceste instrumente de protecție a culturilor chimice nu sunt populare, deoarece grupuri din ce în ce mai mari si mai radicali de ecologiști îi împing pe politicieni să le interzică.

Ceea ce pare să conteze este că instrumentele moderne de protecție a culturilor sunt etichetate ca fiind nesustenabile. Cu toate acestea, sustenabilitatea este insuficient definită și, astfel, a servit drept scuză pentru a îmbogăți concepțiile greșite existente despre agricultură.

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare care să răspundă nevoilor mediului, siguranței alimentare, securității alimentare și prețurilor competitive pentru consumatori. Aceste instrumente sunt disponibile astăzi.

Prin inginerie genetică, oamenii de știință au găsit o modalitate de a reduce utilizarea produselor tradiționale de protecție a culturilor, crescând totodată randamentul culturilor. Însă încă o dată, o suspiciune politică față de inovația agro-tehnologică reprezintă o frână, în acest caz prin Directiva OMG din 2001, care practic interzice toată ingineria genetică în scopul culturilor.

Schimbările climatice modifică modul în care producem alimente indiferent dacă le dorim sau nu. Bolile rare sunt tot mai prezente.

Modificările genetice specifice ne permit să depășim mutațiile aleatorii ale trecutului și să dezvoltăm schimbări precise în domeniul alimentelor.

Statele Unite, împreună cu Israel, Japonia, Argentina și Brazilia, conduc lumea cu reguli permisive pentru editarea genelor. Această nouă tehnologie poate îmbunătăți speranța de viață, securitatea alimentelor și prețurile produselor alimentare pentru toți consumatorii. Prin comparație, regulile UE au 20 de ani și nu sunt bazate pe știința actuală.

Vor americanii să concureze cu fermierii europeni și să vândă cantități din ce în ce mai mari de mâncare pe acest continent?

Acest lucru nu este doar în mod evident, dar este, de asemenea, reciproc. Dacă am investi cât mai mult timp în demonizarea produselor americane si în promovarea produselor europene peste hotare, atunci fermierii noștri s-ar extinde masiv pe piața americană cu produse superioare. În acest scenariu, consumatorii își păstrează opțiunile de hrană, iar comercianților cu amănuntul și producătorilor trebuie să li se solicite etichetarea originii alimentelor.

Cel mai mult, modificarea regulilor noastre privind noile tehnologii editarea genelor ar trebui să se facă în interesul consumatorilor europeni mai mult decât în ​​cazul exportatorilor americani.

Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole și să dea lecții pentru inovare, nu să primeasca lectii din Statele Unite. În interesul consumatorilor europeni, ar trebui să permitem inovația, iar apoi să fim un lider global în aceasta.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Thanks WHO, But I Don’t Need Your Breastfeeding Advice

The WHO yet again disappoints by keeping vital information from a very vulnerable demographic — new moms.

Dear World Health Organization,

These last few months have revealed many problems with your policies and recommendations. Thousands of people around the world are mourning the deaths of their loved ones, which wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been parroting China’s shocking lies about the coronavirus. No official words of apology would ever make up for lost lives.

WHO lifestyle policy recommendations – such as the prohibition of the marketing of breast milk substitutes – are only adding to the mental and economic pressures with which new moms are grappling.

In your latest report, released together with UNICEF and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), you urge countries to ban the promotion of breast milk substitutes, including advertising and distribution of free samples.

While the WHO deserves praise for drawing attention to the important issue of breastfeeding, pressuring women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time denying them information on alternatives is outrageous.

In fact, new moms needed this information more than ever during the pandemic. With the WHO’s outstanding level of expertise, WHO experts must be aware that high levels of stress in breastfeeding moms can lead to a difficult let-down reflex and to a decrease in breast milk supply.

Women may also suffer from an underlying condition such as HIV, tuberculosis, and certain cancers that makes breastfeeding difficult or impossible.

Even healthy mothers, under the best of circumstances, have trouble breastfeeding. These moms too have felt extreme stress during the pandemic, making it, for some, nearly impossible.

Breastfeeding isn’t only about nutrition; it also helps establish a life-long connection between mother and child. A mothers’ mental health is projected on their children. What can an emotionally exhausted mother offer a baby other than her anxiety? Sometimes breastfeeding simply isn’t worth it and moms need alternatives.

Shaming these moms for choosing breast milk substitutes is disgraceful. Women who want to breastfeed should be free to do so. Women, who – for either medical or personal reasons – prefer or need breast milk substitutes, should be able to access information about those products and make an informed choice, without feeling shame.

The WHO needs to recognize that a women’s wellbeing matters as much as their baby’s.

The WHO might have the noblest of motives, but moms need information more than unwelcome advice. Denying new moms information about breast milk substitutes leaves them vulnerable to unreliable—even dangerous—information and may even lead some to purchase products on the unregulated black market.

The damage from coronavirus is impossible to reverse, but the WHO can help alleviate some of the suffering by ensuring mothers – and all consumers — have the information necessary to choose products that are best for themselves and their babies.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Введение на Украине квот на импорт удобрений может привести к катастрофе

Введение на Украине квот на импорт удобрений может привести к катастрофе

Еврокомиссар по вопросам торговле Фил Хоган (Phil Hogan) направил письмо властям Украины, согласно которому крупнейшие европейские производители минеральных удобрений просят их воздержаться от введения ограничений на ввоз агрохимикатов из Европейского Союза.

В нем утверждается, что «главная цель этого процесса – убрать минеральные удобрения, выпущенные в Европейском Союзе с украинского рынка».

По мнению юриста Consumer Choice Center Марии Чапли, введение квот на импорт минеральных удобрений из Европейского Союза «нанесет не только ущерб европейским производителям, но и сельскому хозяйству Украины. Такая политика – крайне безответственна, и ее последствия будут катастрофическими».

«Торговля с Европейским Союзом очень выгодна для Украины, поскольку она позволяет производить дешевые продукты питания. Торговля – это то, что правительство Украины должно укреплять, а не пытаться подрывать», — резюмировала она.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

For more housing and less real estate havoc: rezone and dezone

Would help cities avoid a post-COVID commercial real estate disaster while also addressing the pre-COVID housing crunch

Un-zoning or rezoning office towers would be a way to make the overall real estate market more dynamic.

The economic havoc from COVID-19 has made the 2008 financial crisis look like a hiccup. Along with airlines and live entertainment, commercial real estate may end up being one of the hardest-hit sectors. Businesses we rely on in good times, both large and small, are facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Retail locations, restaurants and commercial office space will become vacant and there is no guarantee demand will come all the way back to fill the void.

Part of our new reality is that millions of Canadians have seen the viability of working from home, or at least working from the office at a significantly reduced level. E-commerce giant Shopify announced last month it would become a remote-by-default workplace, with CEO Tobi Lutke going so far as to say that “office-centricity is over.” So long as productivity can be maintained, other corporate entities are likely to follow Shopify’s lead and forego the expensive overhead of downtown office space. That means a potentially significant increase in office vacancies, especially in places like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

If demand does wane, firms that own office towers in major Canadian cities will be left with empty space and hemorrhaging costs. What to do? Un-zoning or rezoning such spaces would be a way to make the overall real estate market more dynamic.

At the moment, it is very difficult and time-consuming to navigate the zoning restrictions that prevent firms from converting commercial spaces into residential units. Toronto, for example, has thousands of pages of zoning rules and regulations that limit how space can be used. Applying for a space to be rezoned is onerous and takes a minimum of nine months to be completed and reviewed. In order to apply to have the city rezone a property from commercial to residential, the applicant often needs to provide: an archeological assessment, a services and facility study, an environmental impact study, an energy strategy, a heritage impact statement, a natural heritage impact study, their planning rationale, their public consultation report and a transportation impact study — on top of their own formal plans. Un-zoning or rezoning swaths of commercial space without requiring this regulatory rigamarole could be a way for local governments to help industry survive the worst of the economic downfall.

Relaxing zoning for most of these commercial real estate spaces would also ease pressures on the supply side of the housing market. In cities like Vancouver and Toronto, the supply of housing has seldom kept up with demand, which is why residential vacancy rates in these major cities are usually at or below one per cent. In Toronto, the Toronto Real Estate Board has shown how demand has generally outpaced supply by tracking average home prices. The average price of a home in Toronto has tripled since 2005. Toronto’s inability to build new housing stock hurts renters more with each passing day. In January, it was forecast that rents in Toronto would rise seven per cent in 2020, well above the rate of inflation — though of course now all bets are off.

Rather than insist that commercial real estate sit empty, rezoning could: provide flexibility in terms of occupancy, increase the housing stock to better keep up with demand, and eventually put downward pressure on home and rental prices citywide — not to mention reduce the economic hit to the owners of such space.

What makes this solution even more attractive is that un-zoning and rezoning existing buildings would be tricky to oppose. New developments in major cities like Toronto undergo months, if not years, of review and community consultation. At every turn, NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) activists roadblock housing developments for such dubious reasons as a building’s height, shadow or footprint.

In the Long Branch neighbourhood of Toronto, NIMBY activists pushed to block the splitting of a residential lot because it would “threaten their community character and trees.” In the much-coveted Yonge and Lawrence area, the creation of eight semi-detached units was opposed because it threatened the community’s character by being 16 centimetres “too tall” and 13 centimetres “too wide,” according to the zoning bylaw. Obstructionism is so bad in Vancouver that the only way to build at a large scale (in the thousands of units) is on Indigenous land, beyond the reach of city council, which is too easily captured by NIMBYs.

Luckily for housing realists, i.e., those who understand that major Canadian cities need to increase supply, rezoning existing buildings is largely immune from these roadblocks. Buildings that have already been built are not a new imposition. All we have to do is let people move into them.

Giving rezoning and dezoning a serious look would help cities avoid a post-COVID commercial real estate disaster while also addressing the pre-COVID housing crunch. This is a win-win scenario — if only city councils have the courage and imagination to make it happen.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Outdated regulations are hampering a coronavirus cure

The federal government’s approval process for medicines, treatments, and vaccines is broken, and red tape at the Food and Drug Administration is to blame.

FDA bureaucrats are stonewalling the search for cures for COVID-19 and other illnesses by forcing drug companies to conduct expensive and misleading testing on dogs. The FDA has gone so far as to force this upon drug producers even when it is not necessary, when efficient alternatives are available, and it has punished companies for challenging this mandate.

One company had a drug (now a potential COVID-19 treatment) held up for years and lost tens of millions in stock value because it refused to conduct an unnecessary $750,000 test on dogs after it had already run extensive animal and human testing. The company has argued that “[t]he animal studies the FDA demands … have been considered routine in the pharmaceutical industry for decades, despite the growing body of evidence discrediting such studies’ scientific value.”

The FDA’s current dog-testing mandate for drug companies traces back to 1938, in the days when doctors regularly performed ice-pick lobotomies to treat mental illness and pregnancy tests were done by injecting women’s urine into frogs. Luckily, medicine has come a long way. But even now, although companies may choose to conduct limited animal testing at times, it’s widely acknowledged that animal testing of human drugs is often wasteful and unnecessary.

The National Institutes of Health, for example, writes that “petri dish and animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.” The NIH, the FDA, and others estimate that over 90% of drugs that pass government-mandated animal tests fail in humans because they are ineffective or dangerous, costing companies billions of dollars and decades of lost time.

Recognizing this waste, in recent years the pharmaceutical industry has increased research & development spending while also decreasing animal testing by using cutting-edge technologies such as organs-on-chips and computer models that better mimic human drug responses.

The problem is that the FDA often won’t allow these new technologies to be used, even though it claims to support them and has the authority to do so. The FDA’s decade-old ”nonbinding” guidance document that includes dog tests also states, “You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.”

Yet, as the Government Accountability Office and others have documented, the intransigent FDA has refused to allow companies to use these high-tech tools to fulfill regulatory requirements. Instead, the FDA treats its nonbinding, outdated guidance as a regulation and forces drug makers to pay for unscientific dog tests that field experts, doctors, and scientists deem misleading and wasteful.

The tests demanded by the FDA cost millions and entail force-feeding puppies experimental drugs every day for up to a year, providing no pain relief, and then killing and dissecting the dogs. Approximately one-third of all dog testing in the United States is done to fulfill useless and burdensome government regulations such as these.

These slow and misleading tests also cause unnecessary delays that drive up the cost of drug development and, in turn, medical care. Estimates are that each day a drug is kept off the market due to FDA bureaucracy costs companies between $1 million and $13 million in sales. The GAO has also reported about how safe and effective medical products have been kept from consumers because of FDA’s unnecessary animal testing demands and that “manufacturers may face backlash from animal rights groups and shareholders if animal testing is conducted.” The FDA’s dog-testing red tape is creating liability, not mitigating it.

Taxpayers who pay the FDA’s bills want reform, too. According to a May 2020 national poll, 67% of taxpayers — 73% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats — support ending the FDA’s dog-testing mandate.

In the fight against COVID-19, President Trump has called on the FDA to “slash red tape like nobody’s ever done before.”

The FDA’s burdensome dog testing, which is not required by law and could be lifted at any time, has allowed dangerous drugs to reach patients and prevented safe ones from coming to market. FDA red tape can’t be allowed to hold patients, industry, and puppies hostage any longer.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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