It\’s not just pharmaceuticals I\’m afraid

A system of overbearing regulation is preventing researchers from running clinical trials which could lead to new treatments for diseases like cancer, leading experts claim.

The entire economy is wallowing in such regulation.

A real life example for you. Inside an already licensed chemicals factory we discussed the idea of recreating a production line that they ran 20 years ago. Could indeed be polluting as it would use sodium hydroxide and also sulphuric acid. But it\’s a well known technology, been in use around the world for near a century now. One could imagine some environmental ministry having some oversight of this.

Costs would be in the $5million capex range. So small. And the chemicals plant itself used to run exactly this process recall. And they actually produce the sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid on site already. That\’s actually what they do. So there\’s already all of the infrastructure of medical emergency room/ambulance, fire brigade etc. As well as people who know how to handle these, they have the licenses etc.

It would take 18 months to get the EU mandated environmental license through. Even though we all know what is involved. We could download the detailed design off the internet for goodness sakes.

But 18 months of paperwork.

It\’s even vaguely possible that such delay is worth it for a pristine environment. But don\’t come complaining about Europe\’s glacial economic growth at the same time. These regulations do indeed have costs.

Might be why there\’s only two plants in Europe, both grandfathered in, which do this particular process too. And why they make vast margins. Around and about 7 times the actual cost of the process in fact.

Doing absolutely any industrial process faces these same rules. There might actually be about two weeks of engineering work in there to check that no one\’s about to poison the Elbe. But it takes 18 months.

Bureaucrats are cunts, aren\’t they?

4 thoughts on “It\’s not just pharmaceuticals I\’m afraid”

  1. This environmental licence, you say it’s EU-mandated: presumably then it’s the German authorities who are actually in charge of issuing it, and therefore it is they who are dawdling for 18 months? That’s not to say the EU is blameless; but a good proportion of the blame lies with the domestic bureaucrats who gold-plate the EU rules.

  2. Richard Allan>

    Hardly an example of bureaucratic obstructionism – the ‘customs declaration’ was a joke/souvenir.

  3. Andrew M (#3)

    Couple of points there:

    1/ you are correct to point out that Gold plating of directives is fairly widespread, but additionally we have a vast army of Transnational, National and (certainly in the UK, and most likely in the other Eu states) local bureaucrats who are dedicated to making the problems far worse.

    The issue is that without the EU this absurd compendium of ludicrous legislation (it was huge when I saw it back in 1997) wouldn’t exist, thus it is responsible

    2/ With the advent of the vast increase in EU enabling legislation (much of it passed in the Thatcher and Major eras actually) a change came over The bureaucracies charged with its implementation – they became far more confrontational, and far more aggressive in assuming people were doing something wrong. Ask anyone who worked at that time in two sectors especially (abattoirs or fisheries) and they’ll tell you horror stories that Hollywood scriptwriters might deem fanciful…

    If you want an example of contemporary bureaucratic attitudes writ large look at the posts on here of Arnald, or head over to Tax Research UK where you’ll see the Public Sector Unions mouthpiece spout his bile.

    The EU isn’t the sole culprit,no – but it has a great deal to answer for.

    Tim – absolutely spot on. Most businesses at decamping to the PRC because of this in the industrial Chemical industry. These rules have an enormous cost.

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