"The War In Medicine"
The Approval of Chemotherapy DrugsYou might think that a study proving increased life expectancy
(versus no treatment at all) would be required for a chemotherapy
drug to be approved by the FDA. Such proof is not required.
We now have to add another player to our story, and it is
a government agency. Suppose there is a government agency
that decides which car companies can manufacture automobiles.
Suppose that the B companies, because of their vast size
and money, combined with the natural corruption in government,
totally controls this government agency. The high ranking agency
employees are routinely "placed" into lucrative jobs by the B
companies when they quit the government. And suppose there are
many other perks for the government workers by the B companies.
Suppose also that the majority of the members of Congress in
this metaphor were either stupid, corrupt or incompetent and
they let the government agency do whatever it wanted.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of
Congress. But I repeat myself."
Mark Twain: Manuscript note, c. 1882
With this in mind, I will tell you how drugs get approved.
They study how the chemotherapy drug "shrinks tumors" or
reduces some benchmark which is supposed to be an indication
that the cancer is being defeated. Neither of these things
have anything to do with life expectancy. They may or may
not indicate whether cancer cells are being killed, but
they don't predict life expectancy. They are meaningless
numbers. It is like the B companies claiming they are
making safer and safer automobiles because the paint on
their cars resists sunlight better and better. Fading
paint has nothing to do with how long an engine lasts.
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