Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight


Because there wouldn’t be any change that let minors buy prescription drugs without a prescription, and physicians aren’t going to stop interacting with their legal guardians.

I’m not understanding what your argument here is. That if the FDA’s certification no longer prevents the sale of drugs, that the entire system of laws and regulation is going to crumble to dust? Our system isn’t really interconnected like that.


Well, a few things here.

One, again, the notion that merely allowing physicians to prescribe uncertified drugs will cause some widespread use of them isn’t really logically supported. You would likely see an extremely small number of patient actually using such a right. That number of patients would likely be so small as to have very little statistical impact of the sort you describe here on overall healtcare cost across the entire system. The additional costs of those handful of patients would be trivial compared to the overall side of the industry.

And that ignores the fact that health insurance providers could potentially straight up ban such a procedure, or cause it to result in increased premiums, the same as various other risk factors. But again, it’s kind of moot, give the fact that it’s extremely unlikely that such things would have an impact large enough to result in some non-trivial shift in overall medical costs to the extent that it would change overall premium prices.


Minors have a means to override parental decisions when it comes to medical treatment. Let’s just get that out of the way. They have a way to do it. Your entire argument is based on the idea that someone either has the knowledge to make good decisions about their care or you don’t care enough about them to care whether or not that decisions is good so long as they just kill themselves. You don’t even acknowledge my or Dan’s information about this as if you didn’t read it or couldn’t be bothered to respond to it. You might understand the argument better though if you read it.

So let’s go back to this idea about an 11 year old making decisions on whether or not they should be able to take an untested and unproven drug. You’re position is, it’s the same as if it were tested and passed clinical trials and on the market. You would be fine with a minor working their way through the legal system to get the right to treatment, and you don’t care whether they’re asking for a treatment that’s tested and proven on some level today or something a pharm company spit out yesterday and says hey they’re pretty sure it works. Is that true?


There are potential ways, but again, this is no different from anything else in the current system. They’re still going to need a trained physician.

Your argument here is a red herring. It has literally no impact at on on this particular facet of the issue, because it does not change anything from the existing system.

Yeah, I’m sorry, but the government’s role is not to protect us from decisions that you believe to be bad. Again, we’ve already established that you have a fundamental disagreement on this aspect of things with me, and believe that the government should stop people from making decisions that someone has determined to be bad.

That’s tyranny. Maybe benevolent tyranny, but tyranny nonetheless. As CS Lewis once said:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

You believe this to be ok, for the government to restrict your choice, based merely on the fact that someone may make a choice that you disagree with… that results in an outcome that you deem suboptimal. That’s fine for you to believe, although I feel like in order to believe that, you must not be considering the full implications of such a belief. But again, I do not expect to be able to sway you from it.

What’s further, I have considered this issue quite a lot, and I do not believe you are going to be able to sway me. I do not accept your premise that it’s acceptable to sacrifice choice in order to protect people from the repercussions that directly result from an informed decision. Or out of fear that they may be foolish and act upon that foolishness. Especially when we’re talking about a situation where the decision must still be directly facilitated by an expert in the field. You cannot fall back upon the spectre of unformed decision makers, when their decision is being directly informed by a licensed expert.

Absolutely nothing changes in the scenario you describe, compared to the existing status quo, from the perspective of any of the decision makers. So if it’s ok today, then it’d be ok in that situation.

It’s a red herring argument, focusing on an immaterial aspect of the discussion. The lack of decision making capability of a child, when seeking medical care, is exactly the same, and the ethical issues that arise are no different. There are any number of FDA certified procedures and drugs which a child would not be equipped to decide about. And that’s why we don’t let children buy prescription drugs and get surgery from random people on the street.

A child could want to get breast enlargement surgery. Certainly no ethical doctor would provide such a service, certainly without their guardian’s knowledge. But MAYBE they could somehow find some unethical doctor? And I guess that somehow they could go through some kind of legal hoops to bypass any need for parental consent? That imagined situation isn’t enough for me to say that no one should be able to make that decision for themselves.


Sorry about the delay - work was being … um … workful. Anyway -

If they can essentially do their trials via doctors handling it through patients, they’d only need to worry about the marketing expense in the doctors offices and then someone to log the results. No overhead for controls, a buffer of the doctors’ malpractice insurance for liability concerns, and most importantly the speed that it heads to market. This allows profits to start rolling in MUCH faster than the normal approval procedure, which can take years. When it comes to medicine and the constant advent of newer/bigger/(hopefully) better drugs to replace old ones, speed to market is a huge deal.


Not that you are especially concerned about it, but you are not even close to describing what I believe. If you took time to read what Dan and I posted instead of dismissing everything you don’t like hearing as dogma, red herrings or any other labels that make you feel good, you would know that. This is why I asked you to commit to the engagement of the conversation and not just the dismissal of it… which you could not and would not do.

For example, a discussion involves back and forth. Notice how I ask you questions and you spend most your time telling me what I think.


I spent the rest of the post explaining why your argument was a red herring, i didn’t merely make the claim. You attempted to focus the argument on an irrelevant point.

Not irrelevant because i say so, but irrelevant because it is a facet of the issue which doesn’t change with the policy issue we are discussing.

If you don’t believe that it is OK for the government to make a restriction of your liberty based on the fear of you making a bad decision, then what do you believe? Why are you presenting cases where people are suggested to be making bad decisions?

It wasn’t meant as a mischaracterization of what you were saying. It wasn’t meant to offend.


Let me start by asking you a simple question. What goal were you trying to accomplish by calling my attempt to explain my point of view a red herring?


But I’m not following your argument here.

The doctor prescribing those drugs wouldn’t somehow replace clinical trials, unless they actually did all the things that you’d do in clinical trials. For instance, it wouldn’t save any money on controls, because they would still have to do all that stuff in order to actually get certified. They would still need to do clinical trials, if they ever wanted to actually certify a drug and access the full marketplace.


I didn’t say your point of view was a red herring, i said the argument based upon the idea of a child patient was a red herring.

The reason that argument was a red herring, i explained in detail.

Your point of view is not a red herring, it’s merely different from mine. As near as I can tell, this difference of opinion is based upon a relative difference in our willingness to accept limitations of liberty in cases where exercise of that liberty may result in bad outcomes for the person exercising it.

That is my honest assessment of what you are trying to convey. If it’s wrong, feel free to explain what part of it is mistaken.


You seem be saying that ordinary people, many of whom are voting for Trump, can be trusted to set advertising aside and make completely rational decisions about health care products they couldn’t possibly evaluate or even understand.


I’m not sure why this keeps coming up. I’m gonna say this one more time:

Everyone understands that physicians would still be the guys prescribing treatment, right?


Well… you mean the same physicians overprescribing pain killers and ADD medications? (Goal posts… move out!)

In other words, can you sue your doctor if the medication he gives you makes you sick? Or does he just warn every ‘client’ to medicate at their own risk and judgement?


I think it’s fine for adults to make an informed decision to to smoke and potentially expose themselves to cancer. I think it’s fine that we have regulations around smoking to prevent others from suffering second hand smoke by limiting where they can indulge in this behavior. I don’t think it’s fine that companies tried to pretend that tobacco products were safe. I think it’s fine that the government and private citizens took them to task and we’re where we’re at today with these products which is basically they’re available, we know they’re not safe, and the companies can’t hide behind pretend science anymore. I think it’s fine that we limit the rights of minors in this area until they’re old enough to make decisions on their own… most countries have chosen an age for that.

And I think a pharmaceutical companies will sell you battery acid and tell you to drink up to help your hair grow if they can get away with it. In your scenario, they can get away with that. There is no consequence for throwing a product into the market that will literally kill most people who take it. The clinical trials we have in this country and many others try to prevent that from happening.

And I think you should be able to have a discussion without using dogma, red herring or anything else you think really pushes your point. You can even try it.


Just to be pedantic, there’s civil action and class action that could potentially destroy pharma companies that offered obviously harmful substances in the guise of medicine. But I must concede:

  1. Of course the law should protect people from this kind of damage up front with severe criminal penalties, and it’s certainly within the proper scope of government to regulate medicines to prevent pharmaceutical malpractice. I’m really just nitpicking the quoted sentence.

  2. For some reason no one ever seems to sue those scumbag herbal remedy providers who actually do mix poison into their supplements, and no one ever sues those evil homeopathic tap-water vendors for their false claims. No doubt they are mostly shell companies, but even so I wonder how they can continue to do business based on 100% lies. Moreover I wonder why neither individual states nor Congress forbid these sales. It’s not like this is Big Pharma with a lot of money to dole out to lobbyists.


Yes, you would obviously be able to sue the doctor.

Now, if you specifically signed a waiver of those rights? Then you couldn’t. Don’t sign that waiver?

In terms of the suggestion of unethical doctors doing terrible things… i guess? Unethical doctors can already do terrible things. This doesn’t really change much in that regard, at all, except essentially allow a patient to effectively participate in clinical trials, without possibly all the trial stuff.


I believe Timex is suggesting to use waivers that would prevent this.

Part of the reason why I brought up the minor issue is… how would the courts even rule on this? You have an 11 year old girl, whose brain is literally not fully developed, wanting a treatment her parents say no too. Normally the judge and those in the case could way the evidence… but there isn’t any. You’d have a drug that some company says should do the trick. There are no studies, fatalities, side-effects, nothing recorded to use to make a judgment. That’s what the clinical trials are for… I don’t even know if we’re testing on animals at the point we’d allow an untested an unproven drug access to the public to market.


You’re kind of highlighting another facet of why the example of the child patient is immaterial to the discussion (I won’t use the term). It’s contrived. It’s not a real case.

In reality, since children generally are not able to enter into contracts, and their lack of mental faculties would prevent such contracts from holding up in court, the child in your imagined scenario simply would not get the experimental treatment. The other entities involved would refuse to accept her waiver of legal rights, since such a waiver would not hold up in court.

In order for such a waiver to hold up, that would require that it be established in court that she WAS in fact mentally capable of making such a decision… but in that case, then there’s no problem, because she would in fact NOT be lacking the ability to make the decision.


It not always about the ability for the child to make a decision. It’s also the parents, for example a child of someone who doesn’t believe in medicine but wants it for themselves. These are not imagined cases. These are real Timex. I am not just creating scenarios out of thin are.

This might answer another question though, you’re fine with limiting the liberties, or at least your definition of it, of minors then?


Of course.

Indeed, I explained previously all kinds of cases of, and the criteria for, limiting liberties. The various aspects of liberty are not absolute, but there must be a substantive reason for limiting them. That’s the current understanding of the 14th amendment.