Friday, July 28, 2006

Pass me the pills, please

"We've been advised by our attorney that you should pay us $1,200, or we will be forced to contact our local news channels and provide them pictures."
This is an exerpt of a letter that a friend was going to send to the Hunts food company, because a foreign substance was found in a cup of pudding recently. I warned them that if they sent this letter, they would be guilty of attempted extortion. They reluctantly agreed not to mail it... they hadn't even received a lab report identifying the substance, so it was premature to demand anything.

This is the mindset of the public today... frivolous litigation, in an attempt to receive unearned income. McDonalds knows only too well with their infamous "hot coffee" lawsuit, that many in America are looking for their fortune, and are completely willing to steal to get it. Too-hot gravy can mean a "gravy train" in our society.

The government is complicit. It takes the FDA forever to approve new treatments, research projects, etc. because of fear that, if there are negative side-effects, there will be lawsuits.

Please understand, I realize how important it is that the medications we receive are safe. There should be a good amount of evidence that they will perform as expected.

But honestly, Europe, China and Japan are passing America in the field of medical research. If there is a breakthrough made with cancer treatment or cure, it's less and less likely everyday that it will happen here. In real life, the tortoise never really wins.

I'm tired of the government holding up the process. The FDA makes us wait for treatments that have long been approved in Europe. There are tremendous strides being made, in various fields of medicine, with drugs that are still considered "experimental..." but can we get them here? Usually, no.

Why? Like over-protective parents, the government coddles us, belts us in, ties us down, forces the helmet and pads on us (secured with copius amounts of red tape) until we're so "safe" that it's impossible to breathe.

To add insult to injury, this week George W. Bush decided that the FIRST veto of his presidency would be to strike down federal funding of... medical stem-cell research. There have been hundreds of bills introduced over the past five years calling for spending increases, more funding for war, more funding for faith-based services, more funding for prevention of terrorism... all FLYING past the president's desk.

Yet now, when it comes to funding one of the most promising medical research projects in history... a field of medicine that by most accounts, will be our best hope of finding cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and countless other diseases, the US government has decided again to bury its head and let the rest of the world pass us by. Seventy-five percent of Americans feel this bill should have passed. So this is our "representation?"

Even with the most extensive testing, some failures will occur, some risk will be present. (see: Celebrex) But the public needs to remember that with every advance, there WILL be risk. We need to see the big picture... and not pay so much attention to the pixels.

I have no desire to die by asphyxiation... to be smothered in "protective" red tape.


Violet said...

All good points. I heard the other day on the news that the FDA just approved a new type of sunscreen that blocks UVA rays, as well as UVB. This type of sunscreen has been available in Europe, protecting them from skin cancer, while Americans are still scorching in the sun because the FDA needed to do more research. But, like you said, it is totally a Catch-22... What is the solution to stop the cycle?

Fantastagirl said...

The only way the stem-cell research bill would have been approved during GW's administration is if there would have been via*gra research attached to it... or something along those lines...

I'm really disappointed that it didn't pass....

Lee Ann said...

EXACTLY ~ But the public needs to remember that with every advance, there WILL be risk.

Kimmy said...

Here is an excerpt of the fantasy email I sent to the white house: "How fortunate for you that no one in your immediate family suffers from any horrific, painful and/or terminal disease or injury that might be cured or treated through stem cell research. How UNfortunate for you that statistically your status in that regard will likely change at some point in your life and you will have to look that afflicted loved one in the eye and explain how you once had the power to help them but chose not to."

greeny said...

I read similar sarcastic-bent letters like Kimmy fantasized about writing published in the newspaper. All the people against the government funding this research should HAVE to acknowledge they were against it and sign away any rights to use any treatment for themselves or their families.
I really am not surprised Dubya vetoed, are you all?! Just very, very disappointed.

Amandarama said...

I'm not surprised he vetoed it. But, if I had a dollar for every thing he did that didn't surprised me, but that I still disagreed with, I'd...have a lot more money than I have now. Lots. Like maybe a new tax bracket and stuff.

Rob said...

I don't want to be a jerk, but you're not quite spot on about the McDonalds Coffee lawsuit. While trying to put cream and sugar into a styrofoam cup of hot coffee that's clamped between your knees is, admittedly, not as good a way to flavor coffee as it is to thin out the gene pool, McDonalds had settled hundreds of similar cases before this one, meaning that they knew there was a problem.

Make no mistake: as a guy who handled fraudulent and frivilous insurance liability claims for years, no one wants to stab a plaintiff's attorney more than I do. But there are better cases out there to justify making the shank. Such as every whiplash claim ever made in the city of Lawrence, MA.

And the President's veto kind of surprises me, and not just because I'm convinced that someone had to explain to him what "veto" meant (Probably with a copy of Schoolhouse Rock). I just think that he'd be begging for stem cell research if he'd stop to think back and remember how many times he turned aluminum beer cans into bongs...

Dave Morris said...

Rob, I never consider contributing to a debate as being a jerk! ;) Thanks for stopping by, I'm honored you happened upon my little cyberspace backwater.

Thanks for the links. I've always thought fast-food coffee was too hot. I still maintain that it should be assumed to be hot; it IS coffee... although 190 degrees is certainly reckless. I could have used a thousand better examples, but you get the point.

Kim and the rest of y'all - as for the veto, I don't think anybody is really surprised. Bush is also still skeptical about global climate change. Come on, is it really possible he hasn't seen the evidence? Heck, even if he can't read, there are plenty of purty pictures.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Stem cell research...yes...the wealthy will go out of the country for cutting edge treatments...the poor will die.

Also...gotta say...comparing the FDA to an overprotective parent is wishful thinking. The FDA dropped the ball and allowed a whole generation fo children to be mercury poisoned and has been trying to cover it up for years.

The FDA is owned by the pharmeceutical companies (as are most of our representatives). The organization designed to "protect" us is much more concerned with covering its butt than helping the autistic children they harmed.

* See David Kirby's book Evidence of Harm for more info.

It's Me, Maven... said...

A good lot of this "Sue you, sue me blues" is sung thanks in part to attorneys. BLEH. Have them also to thank for higher auto insurance (due to fraudulent claims), and higher medical insurance (due to frivolous malpractice suits).

PS: Regarding stem cells... did you know that they can be harvested from the menses of young women? Just thought I'd throw that out there and see if it stuck. True story.