Regulation kills people

Of course it's also true that an entire absence of regulation will kill people too. The trick thus is to get the level of regulation correct. This is something that does not, to put it mildly, always happen:

Tens of thousands of cancer patients are being denied life-extending drugs because of EU bureaucracy, experts have warned. 

Trial results presented at the world’s largest cancer conference, in Chicago, showed palbociclib almost doubled the amount of time that the disease was stalled.

On average, the terminally ill women were able to fend off the diseasefor an extra 10 months.

Almost 30,000 women in the United States have been able to access the drug since March, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked approval of the drug in just six months.

But the groundbreaking treatment is being denied to British patients because European regulators work far more slowly.  

They're taking an extra year or two to read the papers and have a few gabfests. However, much as we love an opportunity to bash the EU and all who sail in her this isn't something specific to that organisation. Rather, it's about scale, the level of regulation.

Yes, obviously, it's more efficient to have just the one body that approves drugs: we might suggest the FDA in fact. But if that won't hold then sure, better to have just the one for Europe rather than 28. However, as we all really should know there are diseconomies of scale as well as economies.

And the major contributor to diseconomies of scale is that the organisation itself simply becomes too remote from any form of incentivisation by or on behalf of consumers. Imagine we had a properly "independent" drug regulator for the UK. OK, it's independent: but it would still be amenable to generalised pressure. Why is it taking you two years longer than the US to approve a drug? 

You can actually visualise the sweating bureaucrat mumbling to one or another committee of the Commons on this. But once we push this up another level or two that accountability simply vanishes. Who either can or will scream at them on our behalf? 

And that's rather the problem with this style of regulation. We end up with no way of ensuring they pull their thumbs out: and people thus die as a result.