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And I want to live.”

Seems … so … quaint now doesn’t it. And here we have the “death panel” deciding the fate of this woman. Of course, it would not be an issue if Medicare were not there in the first place or if the FDA could not wield its power to outright ban the drug. So, her impassioned call should be toned down slightly. If she can come up with the money, it appears she still can purchase the drug.

Given that wild idea that if you want something you should be able to pay for it, Medicare “death panels” would not ever have to convene. Instead of saying whether something is or is not covered by Medicare, if we simply had a system of cash vouchers (perhaps which can accumulate over your life so that you have savings/insurance to pay for such things as special cancer treatments) then the patient would have the choice to try Avastin or not. And if they did not have the money, rather than plea-ing with bureaucrats about allowing her a chance to live, she would make appeals to others for charitable donations (you can argue that she still has this option now, but the specter of the FDA being able to take the drug away forever looms large). You might argue that I am merely pushing the argument down one level. After all, isn’t the Medicare voucher indirectly determining whether patients live or die? If the voucher was very large, few people would have to face hard choices? But that is wrong. The relevant point is simply about having the freedom to try to secure the drug. And when Medicare death panels and the FDA get involved, that quaint idea of you trying to do whatever it takes to prolong your life is not longer an “independent variable” which enters into their fancy little planning equations.

So, until the FDA gets out of the approval business (coercively, not entirely) and Medicare is reformed into a cash program rather than an in-kind program, Avastin is most certainly not all you have. You have less. All you have is the whim of wise government bureaucrats who really care about “the public good.” And they cannot possibly care if you live, even as they claim their equations will help others live (which may even be true).

3 Responses to ““Until then, Avastin is all I have. And I want to live””

  1. Speedmaster says:

    Just read that story, too. Absolutely disgraceful.

  2. Harry says:

    Think of how much money could have been saved if the FDA had not had as its mission to require a strict efficacy standard.

    Drug companies have to spend a billion dollars per new drug, much of it to ensure that, for example, the next cholesterol drug is better than generic Mevacor. Drugs that work for small populations die because they fail double-blind trials.

    I am not afraid of snake-oil salesmen. The FDA, with the health insurance industry’s compliance is.

    It is great to find Speedmaster has returned from his world tour.

  3. Speedmaster says:

    >> “It is great to find Speedmaster has returned from his world tour.”

    LOL, what? 😉

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