James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Wed, 2 Nov 1994 13:03:32 -0500


I find a basic problem with the statement made on CNN
yesterday by Dr. Robert Temple of the U. S. Food & Drug
Administration. Referring to regulations concerning the
testing of substances about which medicinal claims have been
made, and specifically about "no-controls tests," Dr. Temple
said, in horror:

If [the FDA] relied on tests like that, we
could end up putting drugs into the market
that don't work at all.

Wow! Wouldn't that be a bummer! Imagine citizens laying
out money for devices, chemicals, mixtures, systems and
other stuff for which healing or prophylactic claims have
been made, but that are worthless. Can you imagine that?
Even worse, imagine further that the FDA actually HAS
approved and allowed such things to be offered and sold!

Dr. Temple, let me tell you about some things that we of the
hoi polloi are experiencing every day. Pharmacies offer us
homeopathic "remedies" that consist of just plain water with
no medicinal effect, but for which grandiose claims are
made. That's approved by the FDA. Chiropractors charge us
$60 for 20 minutes of blue light that they say cures asthma.
The FDA knows and/or says nothing about this. Professional
Christian Science "practitioners" are paid by the hour to
send healing "vibrations" to the ill and dying, in lieu of
orthodox medical care. It doesn't work, but they're
approved and licensed. Faith healers on television and
"psychic surgeons" make claims about bringing healing to the
sick. They don't, but they become millionaires because no
one in authority -- like the FDA -- ever questions them.

But I guess I got the wrong idea about government. I've
been under the naive impression that it was designed to
protect the citizen. Wrong. It was designed to protect the
jobs of those who play The Game properly.

Let me get one thing understood here: I'm all for the quacks
being allowed to preach their claptrap to the millions. I
think that we can get rid of a lot of stupid people that
way -- they'd be the ones who chose to ignore fair
warnings. But I'd dearly like to see someone in Washington
care enough to tell the rest of us, who may believe that
they have some sort of protection against this flummery
built into their system of government, that such agencies
as the FDA don't offer us anything but squeaky-clean,
politically correct, non-offensive rulings on quackery.

Dr. Temple, you ARE "putting drugs into the market that
don't work at all." And they will stay there simply
because we can't force you to respond to such complaints
as this, and you can continue to ignore the truth of it.

Do you get sand in your ears, doctor? Well, get eye of
newt and toe of frog.....

James Randi.