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Marcia Angell quotes
There's a certain libertarian right-wing view that there should be no FDA, that people can decide for themselves whether medicines are safe and effective. That's nonsense. Most people don't have the expertise or the resources to mount a proper study to find out whether a treatment is safe or effective.
Liberals are wrong to think that opposition to health reform is a rejection of big government. If health reform consisted of extending Medicare to everyone, people would be delighted. There are millions of 64-year-olds out there who can hardly wait to be 65.
For all of life's discontents, according to the pharmaceutical industry, there is a drug and you should take it. Then for the side effects of that drug, then there's another drug, and so on. So we're all taking more drugs, and more expensive drugs.
Drug companies say they need to charge ever-higher prices to cover their research costs, but they spend far less on research and development than they do on marketing and administration, and afterwards they actually keep more in profits.
I think doctors are really suffering now. They're suffering in the sense that they feel torn between serving their patients in the best way they can and dealing with all of requirements of the insurance companies and the HMOs and the hassles and the paper work and the increasing pressures to do less and less for their patients.
Just look at herbal remedies. It's essentially a throwback. It's saying you go to a plant and you mush it up and you stick it in the jar and you sell it and you eat it and it's going to cure what ails you. And that's the kind of stuff that people believed in the early 19th century.
Probably most dying patients, even when suffering greatly, would choose to live as long as possible. That courage and grace should be protected and honored, and we should put every effort into treating their symptoms.