To save money for consumers, Waxman is willing to allow certain drugs, called biologic drugs, to enter the market without clinical testing that proves their efficacy. He realizes that requiring clinical testing for efficacy will slow things down and needlessly keep important drugs out of the hands of suffering patients.

But by that same principle, he should favor repealing that requirement for all new drugs. Just as his proposal would get drugs into patients’ hands more quickly and create more competition, so too would a wholesale repeal of the efficacy requirement save lives and create more competition. The case for repealing the efficacy requirement for regular drugs, moreover, is just as strong as the case for repealing such requirements for biologic knockoffs.

This is from David R. Henderson [me] and Charles L. Hooper, “Markets Can Determine Drug Efficacy,” published today on

Henry Waxman seems to understand the arguments when they lead to a conclusion he favors.