How ObamaCare Kills Medical Innovation
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration banned doctors from prescribing Avastin, a potent but costly drug, to patients with advanced-stage breast cancer. According to the FDA, the drug doesn't offer 'a sufficient benefit in slowing disease progression to outweigh the significant risk to patients . . . .'
The discovery of penicillin is attributed to Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928. He showed that, if Penicillium notatum were grown in the appropriate substrate, it would exude a substance with antibiotic properties, which he dubbed penicillin. This serendipitous observation began the modern era of antibiotic discovery . . . .The challenge of mass-producing this drug was daunting. On March 14, 1942, the first patient was treated for streptococcal septicemia with U.S.-made penicillin produced by Merck & Co. Half of the total supply produced at the time was used on that one patient. By June 1942, there was just enough U.S. penicillin available to treat ten patients. A moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois, market in 1943 was found to contain the best and highest-quality penicillin after a worldwide search. The discovery of the cantaloupe, and the results of fermentation research on corn steep liquor at the Northern Regional Research Laboratory at Peoria, Illinois, allowed the United States to produce 2.3 million doses in time for the invasion of Normandy in the spring of 1944. Large-scale production resulted from the development of deep-tank fermentation by chemical engineer Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau . . . .Penicillin production emerged as an industry as a direct result of World War II. During the war, there was an abundance of jobs available in the U.S. on the home front. The War Production Board was founded to monitor job distribution and production. Penicillin was produced in huge quantities during the war and the industry prospered. In July 1943, the War Production Board drew up a plan for the mass distribution of penicillin stocks to Allied troops fighting in Europe. At the time of this plan, 425 million units per year were being produced. As a direct result of the war and the War Production Board, by June 1945 over 646 billion units per year were being produced....
When you look at Penicillin, you see that everything going on in medical research then is the same today. Huge and expensive efforts are needed to get the first cure:
On March 14, 1942 . . . . Half of the total supply produced at that time was used on one patient . . . . A moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois, market in 1943 was found to contain the best and highest-quality penicillin after a worldwide search . . . .Penicillin production emerged as an industry as a direct result of World War II . . . . As a direct result of the War and the War Production Board, by June 1945 over 646 billion units per year were being produced . . . .
...The Avastin story is emblematic of the government's broader agenda to ration care based on cost and politics. Once ObamaCare comes into full force, such rationing will be pervasive . . . .Think it can't happen here? Think again. The 2009 stimulus bill spent $1.1 billion to research 'comparative effectiveness.' That's the same approach used by Britain's National Health Service to ration care, weighing cost against factors such as the ever-elusive concept of quality of life. And in an interview that year, President Obama confessed that 'the tougher issue . . . is what do you do around things like end-of-life care . . . .'
If government can limit Americans' choice of effective medical treatments, there's no limit to its control over our bodies, and the right to bodily autonomy is an illusion. In the context of the new health law, the FDA's Avastin decision is the tip of a looming iceberg of government rationing. It must be challenged.