Jerry Avorn

Jerry Avorn is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs.

Recent Articles

The War on Facts Hits Prescription Drug Regulation

The FDA's authority was under legal attack even before Trump. Now the agency faces a triple threat. 

VonaUA/Shutterstock
VonaUA/Shutterstock This article appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . R egimens of “regulatory relief” have begun to course through Washington’s veins, to treat a presumed diagnosis of severe governmental constipation. President Donald Trump has vowed to purge “over 75 percent” of the regulations governing the approval and manufacture of prescription drugs. His nominee for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, a physician at the American Enterprise Institute, has argued that many of the current requirements that oblige manufacturers to demonstrate that their drugs are safe and effective represent excessive big-government impositions on the creative élan of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Two other worrisome developments in these directions predate the election and are likely to further transform the medications landscape. The first is a legal movement to undercut the FDA’s authority to regulate drugmakers’...

Shift Happens

Why is American's health-care system collapsing? Three books, three good answers.

Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee (Bloomsbury, 343 pages, $25.95) Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis by Jonathan Cohn (HarperCollins, 302 pages, $25.95) A Second Opinion: Rescuing America's Health Care by Arnold S. Relman (A Century Foundation book published by Public Affairs, 205 pages, $24.00) The problem is that most of us are healthy most of the time. At least, that's the problem if you want to change the health-care system. In any given year the average American isn't likely to come face-to-face with the worst that system has to offer. And those who confront its limitations most often -- the chronically ill and the uninsured -- also happen to be among the most powerless groups in the electorate. Meanwhile, the economic burdens grow each year: Medical goods and services become ever more expensive, and employers and insurers shift more costs to patients. It's not as if we haven't had a series of attempts at...