E-DRUG: Alternatives for the patent system? (3)
I appreciate reading Dr Offerhaus' observations on e-drug.
Scholars and commentators from across the political spectrum are voicing
complaints on national and international pharmaceutical policy issues.
>From books by Fred Leavitt (The Real Drug Abusers) to Thomas Szasz
(Pharmacracy), it is clear that the institutions governing the drug-use
system in post-modern western industrialized societies have failed in
their public health missions.
In her new book, Marcia Angell's arguments are not new from a medical
journal editor. In 1905, George Simmons, editor of JAMA, made similar
observations about the patent medicine and nostrums situation (Simmons,
G. "The Secret Nostrum vs. the Ethical Proprietary Preparations."
Journal of the American Medical Association 1905, 44: 718-21), leading
to the formation of the AMA's Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry, and, as
medical historian Harry Marks contends, the operating structure and
function of FDA.
>From my perspective, a feasible approach to pharmaceutical policy is one
where social institutions, not individuals, are restrained from
intervening in all matters of private drug ingestion. The usual
solution, more controls on private citizens via regulation and
legislation, is inappropriate because the downstream and unintended
consequences cannot be foreseen in any meaningful way (except more
oppression). The greatest tragedy today is not the price of prescription
pharmaceuticals but the morbidity and mortality from their ill-informed
and indiscriminant use under learned professional guidance.
Richard H. Parrish II, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Department of Pharmacy Practice
Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy
Faculty Senate Secretary - 2004-5
1775 North Sector Court
Winchester, VA 22601 USA
tel: +1 540 678 4392
fax: +1 540 665 1283