Thursday, May 11, 2006

The FDA Violates Medical Rights

This is an excerpt of the FDA’s mission statement, pulled from the FDA's website.
In a free society, why should the government have the power to forbid people to take medicine that could save their lives? In addition, why should the government have the power to forbid anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of another human being? Forbidding a person’s right to make choices, even bad choices, isn’t the proper function of the government in a just and free society.

"Tiny Bubbles" crooner Don Ho could not undergo a procedure that used his own stem cells to strengthen his heart muscle in America; he had to travel to Thailand. The FDA has yet to approve the procedure, and Ho would have died before government bureaucrats could do so. This is a classic example of how the FDA’s red tape is counterproductive to their own mission statement; "The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs."

Whom does the FDA intend to protect, when they would prevent beneficial and cheap medicines from hitting the marketplace in America? How many people have to die while waiting for a drug to be approved? How many sick and dying people will loose their battles for life because they can’t afford the price of drugs that have to recoup the expense of FDA approval? Does the end justify the means? The FDA and supportive government officials say, "No, you'll just have to die. We won't let you take this stuff, because it could kill you."

Currently, the FDA is using its unchecked power to ban propellant-based inhalers, like Primatene Mist. This affects millions of asthma patients, who must now pay more money (and go through greater inconvenience) to get prescription inhalers. Doctors and large pharmaceutical companies, of course, love the extra business.

On April 20th of this year, under pressure from Drug War zealots like Indiana Representative Mark Souder, the FDA released an unfavorable view of marijuana for medical purposes, despite the contradicting data of dozens of credible medical organizations. The FDA must have forgot that they have already approved synthetic variations of cannabanoids (chemicals found naturally in marijuana) for medical use. These synthetic forms of cannabanoids are very expensive and have horrible potential side effects. They simply do not work as well for some people. When presented with this evidence one must question whom the FDA works for; is it the American citizens or the large pharmaceutical companies?

In a free society, it is morally reprehensible to prevent personal choice, especially when dealing with personal issues of medication. If we loose the right to manage the health of our own bodies, nothing else will matter. In response to that statement many individuals unwilling to take personal responsibility will say, "Without the FDA people will die, drugs will be dangerous, we can’t take the risk."

Today, we know that many will die while waiting for drugs still going through the FDA’s approval process. The consumption of medicines that can fight cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses is forbidden unless otherwise approved by the FDA. Thousands suffer from chronic pain and depression that can be suppressed, for little or no money, with use of the "miracle weed" known as marijuana. Health information, such as how tea can help prevent heart disease, is repressed as it awaits approval from the FDA. This isn’t in the interest of public health and safety!

Drugs such as Vioxx and Oxycontin have shown to be very dangerous and highly addictive despite review by the FDA. It’s great that the FDA saw that the benefits outweighed the harm, but there is still harm.

In a society without the FDA people will be able to make personal choices. Regulation will still exist, much as private organizations such as the Underwriters Laboratory regulate electronic devices. Most electronic manufacturers submit their merchandise to the UL (look for the symbol on your electronic devices). The UL doesn’t prevent merchandise from hitting the market, but they will not put their seal of approval on the device unless it passes their meticulous tests. Most electronic distributors will not sell a device without the UL seal of approval. This isn’t because of force; it is because they know that if their customers are purchasing unsafe products from their store, they may suffer some fiscal responsibility. The liability could come from lawsuits or loss of consumer base. The FDA does not have the same kind of liability the UL has. If the UL approves unsafe products, they will loose credibility and profits. On the other hand, if the FDA approves unsafe products, they will obtain more funding, with or without your consent, to rectify the problem. The only protections the FDA provides is protection to the pharmaceutical companies, and to the FDA’s own illegitimate existence. If anything is worth doing it will be done in the private sector with voluntary participants.

Humans are fallible, and will always make bad decisions especially in reference to medical choices. Medical expertise isn’t the underlying issue; it’s whether or not people in a free society have the right to choose, even if they make bad choices. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. I can’t justify safety by taking away personal choices. If we loose our right to self-ownership, we loose the ability to be free. We become enslaved by our want to be safe. One may choose to enslave themselves, but should never choose to enslave another, especially in the name of public health and safety. It is an undeniable right to medicate yourself the way you feel is best. The government must protect this right, even for those who would exercise it irresponsibly.


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