#454 The FDA's New Deal
Greenstein the Pharmacist is sitting in what looks like a movie set of an old time drug store. Greeny has this mock up in his basement. "It reminds me of when we druggists used to work for some guy with a soda fountain, knew the neighbors, knew the customers. I just come down here after work some days to remember."
"Work," for Greeny is behind the drug counter at a Duane Reade on 59th Street, on the east side. "It's not the same," he says.
What's on his mind today is the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration.
"You know," he says, "they don't do such a hot job. I mean look at all this poison crap that comes over from China. And look at stuff like Vioxx.
"Still, they are at least a set of eyes and some testing before a bad drug gets on the market -- or pulled off."
Greenstein is king of the movie set. His throne is an ancient swivel chair, no arms. Duct tape patching on the cushion. His sceptre is a pestle, which he wields with great gravitas and authority. He slaps it from one hand to another, then picks up a piece of paper from a little table next to the throne.
"You see this? This is my stock in Fannie Mae. Great investment. Charmin' in fact. Or maybe Quilted Northern."
Greeny is thinking about this toilet paper stock and his drug store mock up and slapping that pestle and thinking out loud:
"There's an FDA for toxic drugs, toxic paint, toxic cat food, how about an FDA for toxic financial products?"
"What-cha think? Test the stuff before they put it on the shelf?"
Aren't they supposed to do that now?
"Well, yeah. But not just in that way. You know, they gotta set up double blind surveys and placebo products, stuff like that. Give it a good run before you sell it to the public."
Greenstein is on to something. It's good enough for Viagra. And even Broadway shows have out of town tryouts. Testing a financial instrument before selling it?
Greeny says "Maybe get some crash test dummies in on this. You know. Like they do with airbags in cars? Something, anyway."
And do what, publish the results in the Journal of the American Medical Association? The Wall Street Journal? The Bloomberg terminal?
Hey, Greeny, you going to volunteer as a test subject?
--Funny how Congress can sometimes get things done fast when there's a break coming soon. They fly home. WE get railroaded.
--Neckties have narrowed agaln. But not enough so that the old slim Jims from the 1960s will look like anything but, well, those old slim Jims from the 1960s. But I'm holding on to the Wide Guys. Maybe they'll be back, if I live long enough.
--Have you seen the new O.J. Simpson cologne? It's cheap. But that scent is a real killer.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)