The War Against Medical Progress

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  • 07/17/2006

Against the backdrop of a war which is an obvious test of the Westâs will to stand up to terror, writing about medical innovation or health care seems insignificant. But if it wasnât clear what the shaping impulse of CMPI and drugwonks is , maybe this is a good time to state or restate it now.

Medical progress has many enemies because many people regard the drug companies and biotech firms â because they are American, multinational, profitable and founded on patent protection â as evil. So therefore, many fail to separate out the benefits of progress from those that produce it. No different from the anarchists and communists that destroyed and appropriated the means of production and took the step of killing or diagnosing those who engaged in genetic research as insane because it conflicted with the Partyâs view that all equal in all respect. So therefore today governments push the notion of one size fits all medicine and cost-effectiveness for the group at time when effectiveness is a function of genetic differences that determine response to environment, lifestyle, medicines and disease.

There are those that twist science for their own political agenda. Some counterfeit medicines for profit. Some aid and abet counterfeiters â who are usually gangsters and terrorists working together — by giving them a clear path to sell fake medicines to Americans by barring law enforcement from inspecting packages that in the past have been shown to be laden with adulterated pills. Thatâs our Congress folks! And the scientific stupidity extends to the stem cell debate, to those who shade and overstate studies on one side or the other not to advance discussion but to slam the other side. Moreover, it extends to the media that canât take five minutes to do a Google search to determine if the expert they have on speed dial has any scientific substance behind them.

We have the tools and know-how to more effectively protect people against infectious diseases, bioterrorist threats. We have the capacity to eliminate inappropriate medical care. We have the ability to increase the value of health care by investing in information systems, medicines and decisionmaking tools that promote the prevention and prediction of disease. What we lack is the leadership and coalition of the wiling to accelerate a shift to the use of these advanced technologies and approaches.

Often the obstacle is the pessimism engendered by the tired old debate or critique advanced by the enemies of medical progress â and the enemies of America and capitalism â that profit motives are whatâs wrong with health care. This critique is simply a political tactic designed by those who want to exert their own control over the course and shape of medicine. They want to control the means of production. They want less profitable companies, different research agendas, different products, and different people in control over institutions critical to progress and ultimately want the government to make major decisions in health care.

The first strike of the anti-globalists and al Qaeda alike is the suppression of the creative energies of men and women wherever they seek to organize their energies to advance and enrich themselves, their families, and communities outside of authoritarian control. Without protection of intellectual rights and free markets therefore, the human condition diminishes.

A world that does not dare to defeat tyranny and evil when the opportunity arises â or gives up, in the elusive quest for redistribution, the individual freedom to compete with and control what one creates will cease to exist.

Terrorists everywhere win by sowing fear. They achieve victory by getting people to give up and by believing there is no hope. The same goes for enemies of medical progress who seek to scare us into believing that only a purge of private sector research, government run health care and limits on patent protection with a goal of redistribution will save us from financial ruin and exploitation.

The enemies of medical progress ultimately have no vision of a better, healthier world. We at drugwonks hope to offer one by providing courageous examples and aggressively challenging lazy, unthinking and manipulative efforts to undermine the efforts of individuals to advance and commercialize medical insights. We are at the beginning of a new revolution in human health and productivity and we aim to support those involved in making it happen.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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