As a regulator at the FDA, regulatory decisions were involved in resolving the health crisis at nearly every stage. Regulation affects the availability of tools and products to identify and fight the disease (tests, products, and devices). Regulation frames the ability of public utilities to maintain critical services, of food to be produced and delivered, of essential services to continue functioning – even in a lockdown situation, where much of both the private and the public sector no longer function normally.
Good regulatory practices must be complied with, even in a crisis. When time is of the essence, it becomes hard to anticipate, analyze, and thoroughly discuss the impacts of regulations designed to deal with urgent issues. Lifting non-critical administrative barriers can help expedite the delivery of critical products. “Emergency” regulations can be adopted through “fast-track” procedures. All the measures are decided based on the level of risk. However, once the crisis is over or its impacts dip below a critical threshold, all regulations adopted through a fast-track procedure should be subject to careful postimplementation reviews.