Want better care from your doctor? There's an app for that. But not right now-- if the Food and Drug Adminstration has its say.
In my syndicated column this week, I look at the latest FDA power-grab:
The FDA wants the power to approve mobile medical apps that let doctors monitor patients' vital signs over their phones. As one doctor put it, "Even though I'm away from the hospital, I can still look at ... real-time wave form data just as if I were at the patient's bedside."
Sounds great. It makes doctors more efficient. But the FDA basically says, "No, you just can't put something on your phone if it's a medical device. What if it doesn't work right? We have to approve it first."
That caution makes sense to people. Our first instinct is to say, "I don't want someone getting rich off a device that might not work right. It might kill me. I want the FDA to make sure everything is safe and effective."
But lawyer Jonathan Emord, who was on my Fox Business show last week, says our instinct is wrong.
"It is wrong because these regulations are costly, burdensome, and they prevent essential medical apps from getting into the marketplace," Emord said.
But an app might kill me.
Emord said that although many medical apps are available, there is "not a single complaint that someone has died or been seriously injured by a single one."
But what's the harm in running apps past the regulators?
"There is so much corruption at the Food and Drug Administration ... so much anticompetitive bias."
FDA regulations protect some people, but kill others because they halt life-saving advances:
Useful HIV drugs were available in Europe for years before the FDA approved them for use here.
A doctor at the Cleveland Clinic invented a medical app that helped physicians calibrate the amount of radiation to give to women with breast cancer. The FDA demanded so much extra and expensive proof of its safety that he abandoned it.
Read the rest of my column here.