Tonight: Intelligence Squared US debate titled The FDA’s Caution is Hazardous to Our Health

The Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government, is charged with protecting the public health. Under this mandate, it regulates drugs and medical devices for their safety and effectiveness. But is it a failing mandate? It’s been argued that the FDA’s long and costly approval processes stifle innovation and keep life-changing treatments from the market. When it comes to public health, is it ever OK to sacrifice safety for speed?

Research!America has asked that same question in polling over the years; most recently in August 2012. We asked 1,052 likely voters whether FDA should move more quickly despite the risks or proceed more cautiously, even if it meant delaying treatments to patients. Thirty-five percent said the FDA should move more quickly, while 25% said the opposite. (Twenty-four percent said neither, and 16% said they weren’t sure.)

This will be the topic of debate between Scott Gottlieb, MD, a practicing physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Peter Huber, PhD, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute writing on the issues of drug development, energy, technology, and the law; Jerry Avorn, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and David R. Challoner, MD, vice president emeritus for Health Affairs of the University of Florida. The debate will be streamed live online through the Intelligence Squared U.S. website beginning at 6:45 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, May 8.

Based on a successful U.K. debate program—Intelligence Squared—the American version (Intelligence Squared U.S.) has hosted more than 70 debates on a wide range of topics. The goal of IQ Squared U.S. is to provide a forum for intelligent, evidence-based debates where opposing views are recognized for their intellectual merit. These events are live debates held in New York City with live web streaming available, as well as coverage on National Public Radio and downloadable podcasts. You can also check your local Public Broadcasting Service schedule for future broadcasts of the debates. After the program, viewers and listeners can cast their vote as to whether they sided with the duo arguing “for” or “against” the nightly topic.

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