Bottom line: The public thinks the FDA is great. Regular economists think it’s pretty good. And economists who specialize in the FDA think it’s pretty bad.
That is Bryan Caplan, read more here.
Addendum: I’ll grant that those who specialize in studying a particular agency may tend to be the critics. That being said, the "man in the street" simply has not, in most cases, considered the economic criticisms of the FDA.
At this point, we all face a dilemma. For instance Paul Krugman cites the predominance of academic Democrats as an argument against the Republican party. Must he then accept this evidence on the FDA? Must Caplan become a Democrat? When is citing professional consensus opinion most persuasive? What is the professional consensus on this question?