Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine August 2013

As We See It

When “Rules” Are Broken

By William Faloon

Missiles That Shoot Down Missiles… But No Cure for Cancer

   Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
died at age 76 after complications
(infection) suffered from an emergency
appendectomy.(This is an example of
hospital incompetence that is likely to
worsen under the Affordable Care
Act.)6-9 © gettyimages.com

Every day in America, more than 1,500 people perish from cancer.5 Many of these patients are treated with surgery and radiation, technologies developed during the first half of last century. Others receive toxic chemotherapy drugs approved in the 1970s, ‘80s, or ‘90s.

While more Americans are being cured of cancer, they often are left with horrific side effects, and the survival rate for certain cancers has not appreciably improved since the 1950s.13-18

We have today, advanced imaging techniques (e.g., PET/CT scans) that can detect exactly where tumors are throughout a patient’s body. Genetic testing of tumor cells enables us to know what enables them to uncontrollably proliferate and how they may be evading therapeutic eradication. Yet about 577,000 of these patients die each year surrounded by oncology experts.5

Effective treatments remain bogged down in regulatory quagmire.19,20 Those who risk bringing them to the surface prematurely risk financial decimation and incarceration by regulators determined to protect gigantic pharmaceutical interests.

The corrupt influence of pharmaceutical behemoths is so widespread that innovators fear the only way to get new therapy approved is to meticulously follow regulatory channels that were long ago proven inefficient. In this process that can take a decade and countless millions of dollars, potentially effective therapies are lost forever in a bureaucratic labyrinth.

Real-World Solutions

  Congressman John Murtha
Congressman John Murtha died
at age 77 due to complications from
gallbladder surgery. This egregious
act of hospital incompetence
occurred because the surgeon nicked
Murtha’s intestine during the surgery,
resulting in death from peritonitis.
This occurred in one of the federal
government’s top military hospitals,
and Murtha was one of the military’s
best friends from an appropriations
standpoint.10-12 © gettyimages.com

This article has been laced with depictions of former members of Congress and presidents who share a common tragedy of all dying before technology could evolve to prevent their death.

Life Extension has long sought to persuade Congress to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to allow individuals to “opt-out” of FDA’s regulatory stranglehold and allow companies to provide innovative products that are clearly marked, “Not approved by the FDA—Use at your own risk.”

This approach will allow companies to offer drugs that have demonstrated safety and a reasonable likelihood of effectiveness, which are labeled “Not Approved by the FDA.” Patients who wish can still use only FDA-approved drugs, while those willing to take a risk, in consultation with their doctors, will be allowed to try drugs shown to be safe that are still not approved.

We believe that this initiative will result in a renaissance in the practice of medicine similar to the computer technology revolution of the past four decades. In the liberated environment we envision, lethal diseases will succumb to cures that are less expensive than is presently the case. And greater competition will help eliminate the health care cost crisis that exists today.

      Senators Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, 
and Robert Byrd
Senators Ted Kennedy, Mike
Mansfield
, and Robert Byrd all died
of natural causes that could have been
prevented or treated if medical research had
been unshackled from bureaucratic over-
regulation. These men had long-serving
careers with plenty of plenty of opportunities
to change laws that constrain scientific
progress before they personally became
victims of the regulatory stranglehold this
country’s healthcare system has suffered
since the early 1960s. © gettyimages.com

Today’s broken system results in terminally ill people learning of scientific discoveries that might well cure their disease, but sadly hearing their newscaster say the therapy is years away from FDA approval. We think that seriously ill people, in consultation with their doctors, should be able to make up their own minds about what drugs they are willing to try.

Outside-the-box thinkers like General Gold are repressed in today’s hostile regulatory environment because Congress has failed to amend the law.

Americans should not face prison for accelerating medical progress, yet that is how the law is written and the reason why so few cures for lethal diseases have been found over the past 60+ years.

We at Life Extension have long contended that any person with a serious illness should have the individual right to choose therapies that have not yet received official approval.

Under this personal choice initiative, the marketplace, rather than government regulators, would determine which medical technologies are safe, efficacious, and cost effective.

The result will be the rapid emergence of medical therapies analogous to the Iron Dome missile defense system that came into existence because of General Gold’s willingness to break rules that made no sense.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon

References

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