2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #167 “DEATH FROM BUREAUCRACY”

The article “When Cancer Was Conquerable” by Sarah Constantin in the June 2018 edition of Reason should be required reading for all voters!  In it Ms. Constantin documents how, over the years, the Food and Drug Administration has slowed down the process of creating new approaches to combatting cancer, and made them so highly expensive, that tens of thousands of cancer patients have probably and unnecessarily died as a result.  How is that?  Because, for example, in 1952, before the FDA’s intrusion into the Free Market, a chemist was able to run clinical trials on a new drug successfully to treat leukemia, and was able to have it on the market by 1953.  Similarly, two protocols to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma were quickly brought to the market in the late 1960s, with the result that complete remission quickly went from barely above zero to 80 percent, with about 60 percent of those people never relapsing.  So now, as a result of this treatment, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is basically regarded as curable. But since those times, the FDA has bureaucratized the process so much that, for example, in 1985, when a new technique called Adoptive Cell Transfer was found to produce regressions in cancerous tumors, it took the FDA until 2017 to grant its approval for the technique to be used.  That’s 32 years!!

Under present-day FDA requirements, most medical tests must now be peer-reviewed, protocols which used to be used as guidelines are now mostly considered to be legally binding, and reporting has given rise to long questionnaires categorizing subjective symptoms along with the requirement of confirming blood tests.  And for what purpose?  As one researcher noted: “It is just not all that important if it was day 5 versus day 6 that the patient’s grade 1 fatigue improved, particularly when the patient then dies on day 40 of uncontrolled cancer.”  And, bluntly, when it comes down to it, shouldn’t patients have the right to choose to use an “experimental” drug, as long as the risks are fully explained?  And even if the drug doesn’t work, shouldn’t patients have the gratification of knowing that they at least helped to show what doesn’t work?  Furthermore, consider this literal fact, Free Market mechanisms alone would provide the proper level of care and protection, as long as risks are fully disclosed and drug makers are held to fully pay for wrongful harm they cause, and these goals are achieved by plaintiffs’ attorneys.  So, bottom line, isn’t the FDA unconscionably interfering in the Liberty of some truly sick people?  Shouldn’t this interference be stopped?

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

Quote of the Week: “The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.” James Ransom (2003 –  2016)

By the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!

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