11
   

The government shouldn't regulate ineffective drugs

 
 
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:44 am
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
I welcome a governmental agency making sure that drugs and remedies being sold to the public won't kill people. I don't, however accept that we need such an agency to tell us whether or not these drugs and remedies are effective.


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Type: Discussion • Score: 11 • Views: 7,596 • Replies: 88

 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:48 am
@joefromchicago,
This whole conversation stemmed from an inability on Finn's part to admit that being against clean air and water regulations is explicitly being FOR higher levels of pollution in our air and water.

He started there and sort of twisted himself in knots as things went along...

Cycloptichorn
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:57 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Yeah, that's how those things frequently develop, but committed libertarians (small "l" libertarians, not members of the Libertarian Party necessarily) take the view that agencies like the FDA aren't needed because free market mechanisms produce the same results more efficiently and at less cost.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  5  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 11:58 am
The drug market, if left unregulated, would be much better than the nearly unregulated financial markets, because, if I am following the libertarian thinking on this, people will flee from companies who make bad drugs as soon as enough people die or go blind or develop hideous incurable lesions.

Joe(just like in 1822)Nation
parados
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 12:55 pm
@Joe Nation,
That assumes there would be some scientific study to show the drug caused it.

I'm sure the Tobacco Drug companies would never fund studies showing how safe their product was if it wasn't safe.
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 01:50 pm
@parados,
No science needed, Parados, according to the libertarian, the people will just figure it out on their own.

Joe(or die trying)Nation
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 02:05 pm
(Link to original post)

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Still beating that drum and pushing liberal logic, I see.

I'm not sure what's so liberal about it. And since you actually agree that, if someone takes ineffective drugs and dies it's their own damn fault, I'm not sure why you describe your own logic as "liberal." But there you have it.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If you take an ineffective drug and you die, the drug did not kill you, the disease you hoped it might cure did.

If you take an ineffective drug instead of an effective one and you die, then I'm quite content to say that the ineffective drug killed you. So, for instance, all of those people who died after taking an ineffective nostrum like Laetrile instead of undergoing cancer therapies that were proven effective were killed by Laetrile just as surely as if they had taken poison instead. The only difference is that poison would have been quicker, less painful, and less costly.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If a drug is ruled effective by the FDA but it doesn't prevent a patient from dying, did the effective drug kill the patient?

No. Apples and oranges here. Effective drugs sometimes don't work, even though they do in the large majority of cases. Ineffective drugs never work, even though patients who take them are led to believe that they do.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If someone takes a contraversial drug that has been widely recommended against by experts, then they are taking a large risk which they believe will yield a large return.

Indeed. But then many people don't know they're taking that risk.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
FDA approved drugs and treatments do not have anything close to a 100% success rate with many serious diseases. I'm quite sure we can find cases where people have taken unapproved drugs and survived there illnesses. Perhaps the drug helped them or maybe it was a placebo effect. Maybe it was something entirely different. If the approved drugs don't work and the FDA will not allow the patient to try alternatives, is the FDA responsible for the his or her death from the underlying disease?

No.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If the approval process take years and years because FDA personnel are afraid of being wrong, are they responsible for all of the deaths that occur while an ultimately FDA labeled effective drug is kept off the market?

No.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If someone has a raging infection and, rather than taking antibiotics, choses to avail themselves only of acupuncture and time in a sweat lodge, there's a good chance they will die.

I see this as someone making a very poor choice, but if you want to phrase it terms of fault and damn fault, be my guest.

Thanks. I will.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Clearly you are of the opinion that some people cannot be trusted to make sensible, informed decisions and therefore everyone's right to choose must be taken away by the government.

Not quite. I agree that people, as a general rule, make a lot of bad decisions. Furthermore, I'm sure you agree. After all, we have a government primarily because we can't trust the people to make better decisions than a select few who are chosen to represent them. If you thought that the people made good decisions all the time, you'd be an anarchist.

And I'm perfectly content with the government making some bad options unavailable for people to choose. Again, I'm sure you agree with me on that point, as most of our laws are just a series of "thou shalt nots."

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Moreover, you apparently aren't all that troubled by the patients who die for want of a drug tied up in the FDA approval process, and believe that anyone who doesn't agree with you is heartless.

I'm about as troubled by the people who die for want of a drug that is tied up in the FDA process as I am about the random criminal who is set free because the state violated the exclusionary rule. Maintaining a system that produces far more positive outcomes than negative ones may, in certain individual cases, yield bad results, but that beats the alternative of dismantling the system altogether. The FDA system catches far more bad drugs than it delays good drugs. European drug agencies, for instance, rushed through approval of Thalidomide while the FDA held it up for further testing. That, I think, was a good call by the FDA.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 02:54 pm
This would be a form of population control.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 02:57 pm
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joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 03:17 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/71393/71393,1199293191,2/stock-photo-happy-tonic-fictional-medicinal-tonic-8181208.jpg

Well, to be fair, this stuff is awesome!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 03:41 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If you take an ineffective drug and you die, the drug did not kill you, the disease you hoped it might cure did.

If you take an ineffective drug instead of an effective one and you die, then I'm quite content to say that the ineffective drug killed you. So, for instance, all of those people who died after taking an ineffective nostrum like Laetrile instead of undergoing cancer therapies that were proven effective were killed by Laetrile just as surely as if they had taken poison instead. The only difference is that poison would have been quicker, less painful, and less costly.


This was, in fact, an example of a drug which was ineffective, and which was a poison. I pointed this out in the other thread, but i'll point it out here. Leatrile, when metabolized, produced hydrogen cyanide, and if one were following a course of treatment with Leatrile, the cyanide was produced far faster than the body could deal with it. Yet another reason that the FDA is a necessary component of government.

I also wonder how Finn views the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I guess he'd be OK with that, since they don't actually interfere with his right to swallow the snake oil, and perhaps poison himself in the process. The CDC does not, at least, interfere with his right to die of his own stupidity.
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 04:39 pm
I think that *someone* should regulate ineffective drugs. And government (in most developed societies) provides a reasonably trustworthy and accountable environment to do this.

I can sort of imagine a world where an independent agency charged to provide professionals and the public for the results of their tests and surveys on the efficacy of drugs. - Like some sort of consumer protection quasi clearing house. But really a govt agency makes more sense I think.

I think it's more efficient/productive to have the testing coordinated nationally (internationally makes even more sense) rather than a situation where each individual consumers rely on advertising, trial and error, word of mouth and testimonies of variable trustworthiness (or a doctor relying on same).

I kind of like this approach to visualising the evidence:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/

But specific treatments for specific ailments don't lend themselves so much to this approach, and there are so many treatments to be tested - and within treatments individuals vary so much - I can't argue against government involvement.
0 Replies
 
Questioner
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 04:40 pm
If there's no regulation or consequences on a company pumping out garbage medication then they'll just keep pumping out garbage medication until people start dying.

Then when their company gets blacklisted they close down, buy or start a new company and start doing the same thing again, ad nauseum. The money they would make selling junk pharmaceuticals would FAR exceed the costs of buying new stationary and getting set up in a new state with a new logo and a new . . . oh, was going to say license but wouldn't need that would we?

Meanwhile, people everywhere drop like flies because the big corporations they trusted not to kill them with crap meds are killing them with crap meds.

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and Joe said it up at the top of this thread), people need to be governed. America as a society is utterly idiotic when it comes to making good decisions for ourselves. (see: junk mortgages, ponzi schemes, George Bush for two terms, and Jersey Shore)

0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 04:48 pm
@Setanta,
Yeah, with Laetrile, it's a race to see whether the cancer will kill you or the Laetrile will. According to its proponents, though, at least cyanide poisoning is more pleasant than dying from leukemia!

Quote:
As Laetrile became newsworthy, several cancer victims treated with it drew widespread media scrutiny. One was Chad Green, who developed acute lymphocytic leukemia at age 2. Although he was rapidly brought into remission with chemotherapy, his parents started him on "metabolic therapy" administered by a Manner Metabolic Physician. When Chad developed signs of cyanide toxicity, Massachusetts authorities had him declared a ward of the court for treatment purposes only. His parents then brought suit to reinstitute "metabolic therapy." When the court ruled against them, they fled with Chad to Mexico, where he was treated by Dr. Contreras. Several months later Chad died in a manner suggestive of cyanide poisoning. Dr. Contreras stated that the boy had died of leukemia, but was a good example of the effectiveness of Laetrile because he had died a pleasant death! Chad's parents stated that he had become very depressed because he missed his grandparents, his friends and his dog.

source
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 04:49 pm
@joefromchicago,
I believe a variant of what Finn does: I believe the FDA provides a valuable public service in informing the world about the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals. But when it goes one step farther and prohibits the sale of drugs it deems unsafe or ineffective, it does more harm than good. In a free society, individuals should have a right to ignore the FDA's advice, just as investors should be free to buy bonds that Standard & Poor's has rated as junk. It's their lives to play with.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 04:58 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
This whole conversation stemmed from an inability on Finn's part to admit that being against clean air and water regulations is explicitly being FOR higher levels of pollution in our air and water.

I'm too lazy to re-trace the conversation in this other thread, but I will point out that regulating pollution differs from regulating pharmaceuticals in one respect that's crucial to me: You have to breathe the same air as I do, so it's fair for the government to regulate the air I breathe. By contrast, you don't have to ingest the same chemicals as I do---therapeutical or recreational---so it's much less fair for the government to regulate the chemicals I ingest. The only reason I don't say "no fair" is that you help pay for the emergency room I may end up visiting, which gives you some minor degree of standing in the matter.
Questioner
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 05:01 pm
@Thomas,
It's no different than the government banning cocaine and other narcotics as well. They have a good reason for banning _some_ of those drugs, just as the FDA has a pretty good reason for banning _some_ of the drugs they do.

And come on, there's no such thing as a free society. People are entirely too daft to be truly free. Next thing you'd be arguing is that in a 'free society' individuals should be able to ignore police officers, or the safety instructions on a plane. Sure, in a 'free society' Tom Dumbass should be allowed to smoke a cigarette on his flight if he wishes. Unfortunately for Tom Dumbass there are 150 other people's freedoms that he's impugning upon by doing so.

It's all tosh.

Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 05:02 pm
@Thomas,
Failure to properly treat illness causes a great deal of economic harm to everyone, regardless of the emergency room bills. A sick person is not an effective worker; therefore, there is a large net positive when we (as a society) have some sort of assurance that the treatments for various ailments are actually doing what they are supposed to do...

Cycloptichorn
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 05:04 pm
@Questioner,
Questioner wrote:
It's no different than the government banning cocaine and other narcotics as well.

I agree, and I disapprove of that, too.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 05:08 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
A sick person is not an effective worker; therefore, there is a large net positive when we (as a society) have some sort of assurance that the treatments for various ailments are actually doing what they are supposed to do...

My body, my choice. I think we agree that social-efficiency arguments don't give you a vote in your wife's decision whether to terminate a pregnancy. Why should they give you a vote in Steve Jobs''s decision to treat his pancreatic cancer with herbal medicines? (Which he initially did, losing precious time, possibly costing the world several years' worth of technical innovation.)
 

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