We often hear about the “right to health care” and other political talking points, but we rarely hear about the right to choose your own medication. There is currently a “right to try” bill being proposed in the Iowa Senate that would allow terminally ill patients to choose their own medication regardless of FDA approval. Not only is this bill common sense, but it needs to be extended to all patients and not just those who are terminally ill.
It is nice to think that medical regulations keep us safe, but are they really keeping us safe? John Stossel discussed the FDA approval process that was killing people by keeping a beta blocker off the shelf through regulations:
Since the thalidomide success, the FDA has grown in size tenfold, and now to get a new drug approved, it takes 12 to 15 years. So some years ago, the FDA proudly announced at a press conference, it was approving a new heart drug. This new beta-blocker will save 14,000 American lives a year. Nobody stood up to say, “Hey, that’s great, but didn’t that also mean you killed 14,000 people last year and the year before?” No reporter asked that because reporters don’t think that way, but it did mean that.
There is a fundamental right that the legislature must realize and that is that you as an individual own your own body. The State Board of Medicine does not. The state legislature does not. While there should be laws to protect people from those doctors and drug companies that would hurt people, the state should not tell you what medications you can take and tie to your doctor’s hands to prescribing a one size fits all approach to medication.
Here in Iowa, I have heard from patients with Lyme disease that suffer because no doctor wants to risk losing their medical license to treat the disease after patients say the initial treatment doesn’t work. Doctors who want to treat patients cannot do so without the real possibility of losing their medical license and patients are forced to travel out of state to seek treatment or go underground and find a cash only doctor and hope they don’t get caught. That is not health care, but bad government policy.
The “right to try” bill is a good first step and I thank the members of the legislature who brought it up, but always remember that you, not the state, should have the final decision over your health care.
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