Mark Harmsworth of the Washington Policy Center believes it’s a perfect example of how government overreach and regulation can make it impossible to do business
Washington Policy Center
In what might seem a strange move after the last 18 months of the pandemic, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is forcing businesses that produced hand sanitizer to help the country during early 2020, to destroy any remaining supplies prior to an arbitrary March 31, 2022 deadline.
During the early days of the pandemic, hand sanitizer was in short supply and the FDA created a set of emergency (and complicated) rules for the production of hand sanitizer. This was intended to regulate companies that don’t normally produce hand sanitizer who wanted to use unused manufacturing capacity that was caused by government shutdowns, to make up for the lack of sanitizer available to the public.
The FDA rules, however, have created a new set of problems.
It’s a perfect example of how government overreach and regulation can make it impossible to do business, even when a business is trying to do something philanthropic (and sometimes for a small profit) for society.
The FDA rules published for the manufacture and distribution of hand sanitizer, included an extensive 20 pages of excruciating detail as to the exact makeup of hand sanitizer ingredients, production, labelling and how to make it safe for the market.
Now the market has been flooded with cheaper options from imported products, US companies that had invested money changing their production facilities to responded to the demand need, are left with large quantities of hand sanitizer that will be become illegal under FDA rules once the emergency rule expires at the end of March 2022.
Copperworks distillery based in Seattle, was one company that answered the pandemic call and now can’t give the sanitizer away fast enough. After March 31, Copperworks will be forced to destroy thousands of bottles of perfectly good hand sanitizer.
It’s a classic case of government regulations that were made with no regard for the consequences of the impact of the law to those it regulates.
Hopefully, someone at the FDA will see the ridiculous results of the compulsory deadline and remove it to let the remaining stocks of hand sanitizer be distributed.
In the meantime, Copperworks is trying to give away as much as they can before the deadline.
Mark Harmsworth is the director of the for Small Business Center at the Washington Policy Center.