This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Stossel Matters" segment tonight: the feds and your meds. This coming Thursday on the Fox Business Channel, our pal John will ask, what is Uncle Sam doing in your medicine cabinet? Here now, the inquisitive John Stossel. So what's the beef with the FDA, Federal Drug Administration?

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JOHN STOSSEL, FOX NEWS BUSINESS ANCHOR: They are protecting us to death. Not just the FDA but big government, in banning drugs. And we're part of the problem because we jump all over them if they approve something that hurts someone. In doing that, they protect us from stuff that might keep us alive.

O'REILLY: All right. But isn't it very difficult, look, this whole thing started — and you remember this, when you were a little kid because I certainly do — with thalidomide, where it started, where they came up with a drug and they gave it to pregnant women and babies came out with no arms and legs.

STOSSEL: It didn't happen in America because of the FDA.

O'REILLY: Right. When that happened, the government said, "Whoa, we have to make sure that these things don't happen." And then recently we have had a number of drugs come on the market that have caused all kinds of horror to people who took them. So surely you can't want that protection to be evaporated?

STOSSEL: Yes, I can.

O'REILLY: Really?

STOSSEL: Other people can do it. And I'm glad they protected...

O'REILLY: Other people can do it? Who?

STOSSEL: Consumer Reports, Underwriters Laboratory. Take away the government's monopoly, and private groups will do it better.

O'REILLY: Private groups? You really would trust the private groups?

STOSSEL: As a free person, I ought to be allowed if I'm dying to take something. Experiment.

O'REILLY: You'd have to sign — you'd have to sign a waiver. Look, I see your point. I see your point because there are cancer patients and there are experimental cancer drugs all over the place and you can't get them in the United States. People go to Mexico. They go to Europe.

STOSSEL: It's heartbreaking.

O'REILLY: It's heartbreaking. Look, I got it, and I wouldn't be opposed to having, you know, if you want to take this and you sign the sheet, whatever happens to me I'm responsible for it, OK.

STOSSEL: Good. But that's illegal now.

O'REILLY: All right. You've got a point there. Suzanne Somers on this program last week, she wants supplements to be unregulated, OK? Again, you take a supplement. You don't know how it's going to react. I took this red yeast. I told her — red yeast is supposed to bring down bad cholesterol. Well, it had a terrible impact on my liver. I didn't know that. Should I have known it? Maybe. But I think you've got to have labels on this stuff. You've got to know what you're taking.

STOSSEL: But you're assuming government would protect you from all this.

O'REILLY: I am assuming that.

STOSSEL: If you weren't such a meek, passive person trusting government to do that, you would have read up before you took red yeast.

O'REILLY: I did read up on it, but it didn't say, "It's going to hurt Bill's liver." It said it would bring my cholesterol down, which it did, but I'm running around the living room with my liver. Yes, I have low cholesterol, but here's my liver on a stick, all right? The trade-off wasn't worth it.

Look, you know what I'm talking about. That's impossible for the consumer to know what's in these things and whether it's going to adversely affect them. There's got to be some kind of central authority.

STOSSEL: No. Central authority is bad. The bias should be for freedom. And without a central authority, there are lots of little authorities, and we learn which ones to trust.

O'REILLY: So you would have all supplements then, nothing banned? You'd have ephedrine and all this stuff available?

STOSSEL: For consenting adults, you bet.

O'REILLY: OxyContin, all of that?

STOSSEL: OxyContin is wonderful. People are in horrible...

O'REILLY: It's a hard drug though. It's addictive.

STOSSEL: It can be. But 70 million take it, and lots are in horrible pain and only this worked. And now what I'll talk about on my show Thursday, you have people dying in horrible pain and they can't get pain relief because the DEA is scaring doctors to death.

O'REILLY: Well, the doctors can issue morphine and things like that.

STOSSEL: They're scared to. They might get prosecuted.

O'REILLY: You've got a scary doctor, get another one who's got a little cajones. There's pain medicine available.

STOSSEL: Let me read you one thing. From the Association of Physicians and Surgeons on their Web site, their advice to doctors: If you're thinking about getting into pain management, don't. Forget what you learned in med school. Drug agents now set the standards.

O'REILLY: All right. All right, Stossel, I agree with you on some of this but disagree that it has to be a central authority, I think, on this stuff.

John Stossel, watch his special on Thursday on the Fox Business Channel.

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