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Farm-aceuticals

If you think that the pharmaceutical industry is lucrative, imagine taking those few regulations and safeguards of human health away. Hand over complete discretion to the profit-oriented corporations to conduct clinic trials to whatever extent they please; to market their products without any limitations; to “educate” consumers about various uses of their drugs before demonstrating effectiveness. There are often trade-offs between maximize health and maximizing profits; without any regulations, you can imagine which path shareholder-beholden companies take.

This essentially describes the livestock pharmaceutical industry. Without any regulations and no risk of lawsuits being filed by “patients,” livestock pharmaceutical companies take bold risks and make profit-maximizing decisions at the expense of both animal and (indirectly) human health. It is extremely lucrative.

So I am taking this small victory of the U.S. FDA’s requiring prescriptions for livestock as a chance to return from a blogging hiatus. It is a small step, but the situation without any regulatory framework has become so precarious for human health that not even the drug companies were willing to fight this battle:

Farmers and ranchers will for the first time be required to get a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals, federal food regulators announced on Wednesday. Officials hope the move will slow the indiscriminate use of the drugs, which has made them increasingly ineffective in humans.

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