Here are six links to scholarly work (including videos starring my GMU Econ colleague Alex Tabarrok) supporting the presumption that markets will more reliably protect people against harm on the pharmaceutical front – harm both from pharmaceuticals that people actually consume and harm from the failure or inability to consume pharmaceuticals:
An EconTalk podcast with Sam Peltzman (and see the links that Russ includes at the EconTalk site).
Also, my GMU colleague Jack High – now in GMU’s School of Public Policy – wrote several papers about 20 years ago on the not-so-reassuring origins of the Pure Food Act. See, for example, Jack’s paper with Clayton Coppin entitled “Wiley and the Whiskey Industry: Strategic Behavior in the Passage of the Pure Food Act,” Business History Review (Summer 1988), Vol. 62, pp. 286-309.