Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

Experts warn against senator’s bill

Brownback seeks access to experimental drugs for terminally ill cancer patients

August 4, 2006


A bill sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback is intended to help terminally ill patients, but a leading medical journal Thursday warned against the consequences.

Brownback, R-Kan., introduced the "ACCESS Act" in November, a bill that would give dying patients a chance to use experimental drugs to halt their disease - before the federal Food and Drug Administration has given final approval to those drugs.

"I have been pushing for us as a country to end deaths by cancer in 10 years," Brownback said in a conference call Thursday with the Kansas media. "One of the keys to do that would be to get a lot more experimentation on drugs (that are still undergoing FDA clinical trials) ... with patients who have no other option."

But Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine said such efforts would make it harder for researchers to know which drugs are effective.

"Only 11 percent of drugs - and only 6 percent of cancer drugs - that enter clinical testing are ultimately approved," the journal reported. "The rest either prove to be too toxic or do not work."

Dr. Richard Barohn, a neurologist and researcher at Kansas University Medical Center, said he worked with terminally ill patients and understood the desire to speed drug approval but had serious doubts Brownback's proposal was the best solution.

"I run the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) clinic here ... so I am very sympathetic with the urgency to find cures and treatments, and I'm involved in a lot of clinical trials trying to find treatments," Barohn said.

But the doctor said clinical trials often turned up "horrible side effects" that were previously unknown. And giving them to patients so close to death might give false hope.

The "chances of a miracle drug that retrieves them from death is very low," Barohn said.

Brownback's bill - and a lawsuit against the FDA - is sponsored by Abigail's Alliance, a Virginia-based advocacy group. Steve Walker, a member of the group, said Thursday his wife died of colon cancer in 2003, while the FDA was still awaiting approval on drugs that might have helped her.

He said the FDA is too "rigid and process-oriented."

"We're trying to change the system so it's responsive to patients," he said. "Once you know that a drug works, you need to make it available. The system doesn't do that."

Brownback's bill has been sent to committee but given no hearing. He said Thursday that current "cocktails" of drugs that have curbed the deadliness of AIDS were made available to patients before final approval, saving lives and pioneering the treatment.

"It has worked for us in the past, particularly in dealing with the AIDS situation," Brownback said, "and I want to apply it to cancer."

- City editor Mike Shields contributed to this report.


Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

yep I see this one going round, and round and round. no easy answers on this issue.

Steve Mechels 11 years, 6 months ago

Gosh, I would think that if Brownback was so interested in curing terminal disease he would be supporting stem cell research...

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

Politicans have become experts on global warming and now drugs that need to withstand a rigid process. If not is Brownback willing to protect the FDA and the manufacturer from liable? Recently some drugs found their way to market that have induced heart attacks as a side effect so what's up with that.

Presidential motivations drive some folks to propose some unusual ideas...

conservative 11 years, 6 months ago

While granted the chances that one of them might be miraculously cured, is it better to just say, "nope sorry, you're beyond hope so we'll just let you suffer and die". If someone is terminally ill they should be allowed to try anything that might be helpful regardless on if it's been proven yet or not. Obviously the drug companies would need to be shielded from lawsuits, but if the patients request the treatment who are we to say no? And while we're on the subject if the person is beyond hope and decides they don't want to face the pain they should have an option to end it. But I'll bet many of you are opposed to that too. "Sorry you can't try anything new to end your pain, and you can't put yourself out of it." What a bunch of compassionate people you are.

Steve Mechels 11 years, 6 months ago

Yo, Marion I hope that outburst wasn't directed towards me.

  1. There is no way I (or probably anyone else except some neo-con) would call myself a liberal.

  2. The issue at hand is what Brownback really believes; if stem cell research is unethical then so is what he proposes. A life is a life, right?

  3. Finally, I presently have no problem with this proposal; if I were terminally ill I would be a guinea pig.

  4. Relax and have another cup of coffee

feeble 11 years, 6 months ago

There was a case recently of several participants in pharma study in the UK being given a drug that had the "regrettable" side effect of reducing their T-Cell count to zero. This means these unlucky souls have no immune system, what so ever, and the effects seem to be permanent. They are expected to die in the next few months. That's one heck of a side effect.

Steve Mechels 11 years, 6 months ago


I don't simply try to force my beliefs, values and ethics on other people. I try to present thoughts, ideas and facts to make people think about issues, not just believe everything that is fed to them.

You might try that sometime instead of simply ranting and raving and calling people names.

If you call that a red herring then you are in the category of IDIOT (please note the absence of USEFUL).

I often agree with your viewpoints but to get back on track, perhaps you can explain to me why he is against stem cell research but is backing this proposal. Once again, a life is a life.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 6 months ago

as in all things medical there is good and bad. It just seems like no matter what this is a no win, most of all the paitients. I think they should be given the choice, but of course they will not.

tolawdjk 11 years, 6 months ago

The idea has merit, however i don't see how it will further his goal to end death by cancer in 10 years.

Why? Because there is no apparent control. You would litterally need hundreds of "subjects" with similar cancers and conditions to be able to assertain whether or not the drug worked. If it doesn't work and the test sample size is insuffcient, you have gained no knowledge of why it didn't work.

Then you have issues with potentially unqualified physicians across the country administering these cutting edge drugs with no real idea of what to watch out for in terms of side effects.

Its a great "feel good" idea, but that's all I can see it as. It has a huge possibilty of doing nothing to further the research.

oldgoof 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with ljreader and (gulp) Marion. I also think Brownback should throw medical marijuana into the mix for people with chronic or terminal diseases.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

THis idiot Sam Brownback, wants to use experimental drugs on dying people (essentially free clinical trials with no repercussion) that would benefit the drug companies that we already subsudize.

However this yahoo, does not support ESC thearpies?

Is he or is he not a "Right to lifer"?

Jayhawk226 11 years, 6 months ago


I don't think I have ever seen you this pumped about a topic.

I assume this is something you are very passionate about, which I commend.

I really don't remember seeing you this charged up though.

Jamesaust 11 years, 6 months ago

Sorry, I agree with Brownback here. Dying patients are perfectly capable of making decisions about what risks they are willing to take.

The real issue here isn't about science but about bureaucracy. I, for one, have grown weary reading one journalistic piece after another about the creaky FDA machine that manages to approve drugs far slower than any other global drug regulator (let alone then gets its wrong and has to withdraw a drug whose harmful effects were already right there in the test data).

Only those drugs that have already passed animal testing are covered and the exception is only made for terminally ill persons.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

Sorry Marion as much as it seem crazy, I must endorse Swbsow's stance here. On this one I agree with him, and believe it is right.

I do like Jamesaust's point, about the creaky FDA (drug companies apologist), being slow and ineffective.

badger 11 years, 6 months ago

Marion -

Could I get a citation on US aspirin deaths in children annually? US only, because we're looking at the area regulated by the FDA and they have no control over whether or not 'don't give this to a baby' gets printed on a package in other countries. I'm thinking we're talking about a pretty miniscule number, speaking of red herrings.

Also, you appear to be experiencing some 'sticking' with your caps key. Perhaps you've slobbered on your keyboard a bit much lately?

I agree that we need to speed up clinical drug trials in general, and that the AIDS drug trials are a good example. The difference is that with the AIDS trials, there were almost no treatment options out there. Cancer has a number of viable treatment options.

My concern with this (and with the comparison to AIDS drug trials) is that people whose cancer might respond to other treatments would pull strings to get into clinical trials without going through the full course of other available treatments. Someone with a breast cancer diagnosis might push to be included in a trial of a drug with debilitating side effects when a much less dangerous course of radiation or chemo might have had positive results.

AIDS got pressured because it was an automatic terminal diagnosis. You came up positive, you were going to die and there was no treatment that could give you more than an extra year or two. Also, AIDS drugs got pushed for a different reason: Africa. It's not cancer that's going to kill a at least quarter of the people living in Africa in the next ten years, and the rush for drugs to fight it is based in the fact that the entire continent could lose a full generation of people. In less than ten years' time, AIDS will be killing more people in Africa than famine or war. Thus, the desire to take a few shortcuts in developing treatments. I'm not sure that the press for AIDS drugs to respond to a potential global catastrophe is automatically precedent for using cancer patients as guinea pigs. It's worth investigating, but I'd rather see Brownback direct his efforts towards increasing FDA efficiency overall instead of just focusing on relaxing the standards on trials for cancer drugs.

I mean, hey, why not Alzheimer's or Parkinson's? Aren't they as catastrophic and debilitating as cancer? Don't the people facing them deserve the right to be guinea pigs if they want, too? And every time you open up another condition and its treatments, then you'll get another group advocating that their condition deserves the same relaxed standards. Why not, instead, address the entire FDA process?

conservative 11 years, 6 months ago

swbsow, yes definately it is ok since it is their choice. They would go into this fully knowing the risks. Are you opposed to allowing people control over their own lives?

Sandra Willis 11 years, 6 months ago

Trying to read all these comments makes me tired. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998, have used all the drugs offered, trying to make my body refrain from wiping out my brain cells. If ANY cure is made for it, I would be standing in line to join the testing. motto: be a guinea pig for science.

meggers 11 years, 6 months ago

If these drugs are truly that experimental, I wonder who would prescribe them? I'm guessing the person's regular physician or specialist wouldn't even have knowledge of some of them. I would hope there would be a thorough and ongoing ethics review for each and every person who chooses to do this, and each and every drug that's given to them. Otherwise, it seems like there could be a lot of room for exploitation.

With that said, if a thorough and objective ethics review process WERE to be put into place, I think it could be a viable option for folks who are willing to take the risks.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

I also find it IRONIC in Sam's case with this bill, it is OK for a terminally ill person to put a unproven chemical in their system, however even with power of attorney, he raised all that hell about Terri Shiavo.

These are difficult decisions, the Government SHOULD respect the wishes of the individual AND the Family, but protect the masses form the inherent abuses that could be hazarded upon an unsuspecting terminally ill public.

Sam has been "Bought and paid for" by the drug comanies.

Such as if the terminally ill person wants really to try the "remedy" that is the most hazardous so as to commit "suicide by treatment" so as to not cost the family. Or a rambunctious Doctor wanting to "test" his new cocktail in order to sell a lot, will ask an unsuspecting person to try it by offering to offset medical expenses.

Doctors can be conpromised. If anything we learned it with asbestos, where company doctors lied and witheld information from patients to benefit the company.

The same is very likely to happen with respect to the highly profitable drug companies.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

Using BIlly Joel to lambast a liberal with the words to "my Life" was a little absurd as well.

rwales 11 years, 6 months ago

Christians are not against stem cell research we are against the taking of human life to get those stem cells. Stem cells can be harvested from adults and other sources and have had very promising results. Please get your facts right and let me speak for myself.

badger 11 years, 6 months ago

Marion -

I'm quite familiar with Reye's Syndrome, thank you. I learned about it by reading the warning the FDA requires the aspirin companies to put on my bottle of aspirin. Channel enforcer and scream 'google it!' all you like, but you brought up aspirin as an example of side effects that could kill, and I'm simply responding that according to the CDC, the US has seen fewer then forty cases of Reye's syndrome a year since 1987, and at most ten or eleven of those patients died.

That's a pretty low risk factor, compared to an investigational cancer research treatment that might help ten percent of the people it's given to, if they're lucky, and will cause a whole range of unknown side effects in everyone taking it. The incredible decrease in Reye's Syndrome in the last 20 years is actually evidence that the medical establishment's process is causing the number of people affected by serious side effects of a drug to decrease.

The other thing about not knowing side effects is that you can't be sure what is or isn't a severe side effect all the tiime. My copy of the PDR suggests that in some cases, with some drugs, mild headaches, dizziness, or nausea can indicate the beginning of a serious allergic reaction, but for other drugs they're perfectly normal. If a patient had gone through chemo, he might not think to report the mild nausea because the side effects were so much less than the chemo, but it could be an indicator for a serious reaction. Those are the sorts of things extended clinical trials are supposed to find out, or that a cancer drug gets rid of prostate cancer but causes such extensive liver damage that without a transplant the patient will die in a year anyway.

You're just screaming about liberals hysterically at this point, but you might try addressing some of the arguments put forth here so far, like why the bill should only be for cancer patients and not for people with MS or MD? Cerebral Palsy? Lupus? Alzheimer's? Parkinson's? I'm currently losing family members to two of those diseases, as well as dealing with a father and stepfather in treatment for cancer, so I'd really like to know why exactly one thing is worth relaxing FDA standards for, and the others aren't?

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

Scientists will withhold treatment that might save a person's life (and might not, might end it sooner, but, at this point, who cares?) just because it screws up their data. And because "it might raise false hopes."

Yet these same scientist-types rail on in public hearings and in paid advertisements that, by not funding, with Federal money, the destruction of viable fetuses for embryonic stem cell research, that Bush is killing grandma, and forcing little Johnny with MS to live a life of misery

What pathetic hypocrisy.

jayhawks71 11 years, 6 months ago

I have to say, from what I read, althought he motive is clear, I have to agree with Brownback (very rare for me!) and even Marion (although I only skimmed the posts thus far).

Let a person who is terminal (in fact, any adult who gives informed consent) have access to these drugs. Marion mentions (steals? as I have heard it elsewhwere), what do terminal patients have to lose, their lives?

The purpose of the FDA, while initially good intentioned, withholds the successful medications from people for MANY YEARS, and thus allows them to die. Even if a drug isn't going to save their lives, they might make the end better (or worse but they were informed of the experimental nature of the drug!).

The government is about taking over and controlling every aspect of our lives. Telling us what is good for US. It is one thing to try to regulate whether we harm one another, but to deny a consenting adult the ability to control what goes into his body.... this is modern and probalby classical government.

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

Badger, I am sorry you have family members who are suffering.

When you said, "You're just screaming about liberals hysterically at this point, but you might try addressing some of the arguments put forth here so far, like why the bill should only be for cancer patients and not for people with MS or MD? Cerebral Palsy? Lupus? Alzheimer's? Parkinson's? " I agree.

Having experienced the walk to death with several family members who had cancer, I know what I would do if it were me: I would say, put me on a cruise ship, give me a surf board, a bungee cord, or a parachute, or let me ride the fastest, most powerful Harley, or let me trek to the highest mountain top, and leave me be.

But the debilitating diseases, those that do not kill, but that dramatically reduce, or eliminate, quality of life, those that rob people of their independence, why give them free reign? Why not allow their victims toseek all avenues that might relieve their suffering?

Would scientists rather see people suffer and be a statistic in their reports, than let them access unproven treatments and go unaccounted-for in drug research?

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

swbsow wrote : "I don't think you understand what a viable fetus is and no one is killing viable fetuses for ESCR. Asbestos had a great explanation here..."

Yes, I do, and yes, they are. If these fetuses had been created, by the laws of nature, inside a woman, and had they been undisturbed by man's manipulation, again by the laws of nature, the likelihood that they would come to term as a "viable human being" is very high.

But, if you insist, I will change my use of the term "fetus," to "zygote." Semantics, and a matter of a few days in time.

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

swbsow wrote: "A viable fetus is one that can live outside the womb on its own and it would be way more than a few days time for a zygote to become a viable fetus.

And no, the likelihood that they would come to term as a viable human being is not very high which is why many zygotes are created when someone does IVF."

Allow me to go on record as a non-christian, non-religious individual who thinks (not feels) that experimenting on embryos created by IVF is immoral.

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

"It is irresponsible for a doctor to recommend a drug that is as likely to kill someone as it is to save them--it is not their job--and it is ridiculous to imagine that patients have the knowledge necessary to choose their own treatment drugs."

When patients know that they will die, whether it be six weeks or six months, why should they submit themselves to the ravages of the drug treatments, when it is clear that the true beneficiaries of the course of treatment are the drug researchers and peddlars?

Why submit to the horrors of experimental drug therapy, only to be cast out to the hell of "long term care" once it has become apparent that the "therapy" has failed?

Godot 11 years, 6 months ago

swbsow wrote: "The other option is that the cancer patient could choose to end suffering and opt for medical- assisted suicide but you can bet your bottom dollars, Brownback would never support legislation for that even though it is the patient's choice."

So, from what website did you make that?

jayhawks71 11 years, 6 months ago

Godot, why not let people decide for themselves, with whatever evidence they choose, whether they will put a chemical (miracle drug, useless placebo (sans placebo effect) or harmful killer).

Stop trying to legislate what people do with their own body. The federal government needs to get out of people's personal affairs.

The ad hominems levied in this and other threads reflect so poorly on people. To be against something because Brownback proposed it is lame. Even incompetents have good ideas once in a while. I don't know the details of this bill (and I am not really supporting the bill), rather, I support a person's ability to choose what to put into his body be it water, vitamins, pot, or some experimental drug (regardless of terminal illness "status").

As a society, we have come to expect government to do for us and to do the right thing by acting in benevolent fashion. I certainly wish we could scrap the whole experiment and start from scratch. Most government policies and legislation are band-aids to fix failures of other government policies (or to fix the leaks caused by them).

ouroboros 11 years, 6 months ago

This thread made me sad, as reading controversial posts on this website usually do. All's I can say is the following. My loved one was diagnosed with cancer 2 1/2 years ago, and has had most of her digestive, urinary and reproductive systems removed surgically in three major abdominal surgeries. This brave person did two sets of half-a-dozen rounds of chemo and thirty doses of radiation up the ass. After every surgery and round of treatment, the person was told - you're cancer free, only to be told within three months that more surgery was required. The chemo cocktails and radiation didn't work. After the last surgery, the patient is now "cancer-free," again.

So what to do next? In the USA, no clincal trials are available, no experimental drugs, nothing - not even a chance to get a placebo on a wing and a prayer. But drugs that may help are available in Mexico, a few in Canada, Europe and Asia, because their regulations and controls are less stringent. Why is that? We ALL know that's because of our legal and medical systems that are designed to "protect us." BS, they're designed to protect doctors and pharmaceutical companies from lawyers.

So we went to Mexico, and are hoping and praying (well, some are praying but I don't and I'm sure if it doesn't work it will be my fault to some of you). The tonic may not work, but I know this: screw this system for making us travel to the third world, screw the doctor(s) and you "scientists" who would tell a patient, sorry, you're better off not trying anything and waiting for the cancer to come back. This is probably absolutely the only bill I'll ever agree with Brownback on, and as far as I'm concerned it surely wasn't his idea because he's not done anything else I agree with, but GOOD ON whoever convinced him that this bill should be introduced. And thank god for Mexico - at least my love has a chance that she couldn't get in the USA.

And by the way, customs, border patrol and fences are a worthless waste of time. Open our land borders and worry about the criminals when they get here. Put all that money into airports, computer, telephone and banking security. The Tijuana/San Diego border crossing is a very, very bad joke.

jayhawks71 11 years, 6 months ago

One thing to consider is that the bar for "good enough" (a benefit minus costs calcuation) is different for each of the following: FDA, scientists, pharmeceutical company, non-terminal person, terminally ill person.

Q: Who should decided what a person puts in his or her body and whether treatment is "good enough" for him or her to try?

A: The person who is taking the treatment. It is that simple.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

Ask Corretta Scott King just how well those Mexican Elixars work. THat is the thing we ned to evaluate. However, for all the emotion of Ouroboros post and the many things that were just flat out wrong, that person is right:

The FDA is set up to protect Doctors and PharmaCo' s more then the public. I definately agree with that one.

ouroboros 11 years, 6 months ago

ASbestos, thanks for your validating agreement, I think. But I'm curious what was wrong - the emotion or something factual? You don't know the facts of this case, so I doubt that my facts were wrong, but if so, please correct me. As for emotion, again, I thank you if that came through. It was certainly intended to do so.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

Ouroboros we do not make policy on emotion, we are supposed to make them on fact. SOme of the facts get lost in the advocation.

BTW, Corretta Scott King died. She had cancer and went to Mexico for an exotic treatment, and it killed her.

BE VERY CAREFUL going to Mexico for medical reasons. THey gave Steve McQueen coffee enamas for MEsothelioma tumor reduction. SOme of the medications are just quackery. That is what the FDA is supposed to be protecting us from.

Some cancer patients went down to Mexico and got injected with colored saline solution. Got hepatitis from the dirty IV needle that the "Medical Clinic" sterilized and reused!

That is why we have FDA. I believe ALL Governmental Agencies are bolated and not responsive to today's requirements and hopeless for tomorrow's challanges.

ALL Government Agencies need massive reform.


Why would the FDA be any different?

GOPConservative 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Marion regarding this one idea that Brownback has. For the first time in a long time, Brownback is supporting an idea that may have some merit and that may save lives.

However, Marion's weirdness about "liberals" this and "liberals" that is simply too strange for words.

Other than this one idea, Brownback is a fiscally-liberal, socialist crackpot. As someone said above, Brownback talks about saving lives by using humans as guinea pigs while potentially killing millions with his anal-retentive, anti-conservative, crackpot stand on stem cell research.

Further, Brownback has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands because of he supports foreign policies that try to fit cult interpretations of Biblical end-of-times prophecy into the Middle East.

To claim that anyone who doesn't like Brownback is a "liberal" clearly makes Marion look like an even bigger idiot and crackpot than Brownback.

jayhawks71 11 years, 6 months ago

marion said: "By the way, "no-it-all" is NOT a typo!"

Right, it is a misspelling. A typo is a "finger error" a misspelling means you don't know how to spell. Just for you Marion.

I have to admit, I haven't read the legislation, but as I usually like to do, my post has nothing to do with "Brownback" or "the bill" or "legislation."

It has to do with the fact that people should be able to decide what they put in their bodies. PERIOD.

jayhawks71 11 years, 6 months ago

sw, who is more vulnerable than a person that is dying? A person who does not have the cognitive ability to reason; examples being a person with an IQ under 75, a person in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, and a 4 year old. Will that do?

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 6 months ago

This is simply a political ploy by Brownback to try to cover the stain of his opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The idea might have merit, but it certainly benefits Brownback and the pharmaceutical companies who would be able to conduct liability-free clinical studies.

I'm sure the pharma companies would behave ethically and not coerce patients' choices with overinflated claims of "wonder drug" and "miracle cure". Not!

The first rule of medical practice is "do no harm". This is why the FDA vetting proces seems so frustratingly slow at times. They use science to ensure that side-effects are understood and minimized. This process can take time.

I would not want to be the physician administering these untested compounds. In fact, I wouldn't do it.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 6 months ago

I also agree with GOPcon. Brownback and his ilk are liberal socialist nutballs who want to change and control society, just from a right-wing christian perspective.

They are right-wing liberals.

xenophonschild 11 years, 6 months ago

Death is the anguish that kills all joy.

We should give medical professionals the benefit of doubt. Their ethical code requires them to nurture and hold life sacred. While human foibles always enter into any human circumstance, (I was a reporter during the initial stages of the AIDs epidemic, and recall the competition and one-up-manship of researchers anxious to discover a cure) the overriding concern should be for the terminally ill, and for discovering medical approaches that prolong life.

Politicians are often hard to read. Brownback wants to be president someday. He does not support embryo stem cell research or abortion on demand. He may or may not take contributions from drug companies; it would be jejune to assume that he is in any way beholden to drug companies, or follows their dictates.

If medical professionals can lay out practical, common sense guidelines for the terminally ill to participate in drug trials, then the terminally ill should have to option to choose whether or not to participate.

My guess is that they would.

badger 11 years, 6 months ago

Ok, if I understand correctly:

  1. The bill would do little to actually increase a terminal cancer patient's ability to choose what investigational studies he might participate in.

  2. The bill would do nothing for patients of terminal illnesses that aren't cancer.

  3. The bill would do nothing whatsoever to actually increase efficiency at the FDA, and might decrease it, given a new set of testing protocols and increased bureaucracy needed to make the determinations according to the new rules.

The only indicator we have that it will help any terminally ill patients at all is because Sam Brownback says so. His credibility with me is pretty shot, and my opinion of his understanding of matters medical is equally tarnished.

Godot, thank you for your kind words. I will say that only one of them is suffering. My father's cancer has responded remarkably well to treatment with minimal side effects, my cousin is adapting admirably to her first wheelchair (she says that being able to go to the grocery store alone again is a blessing), and my family member with Alzheimer's passed the point of no return several years ago; as near as we can tell, she's happier than she's ever been to be wheeled out into the courtyard every day to watch the birds at the feeder. We all faced the anger and resentment we were feeling years ago, when there were still days she remembered who she was.

The thing is, if this bill offered real hope, I wouldn't give a rat's ass who was sponsoring it. But the false hope I object to isn't giving terminal patients hope of a cure or recovery that may be dashed. Every day that they wake up and have that split-second thought that they only dreamed the cancer diagnosis does that without any help from the government. It's the false hope they and their caretakers are being given that a bill like this will improve something at all. The false hope that someone in Washington is taking concrete action to speed the FDA process, when in fact someone in Washington is simply taking advantage of them to posture with lip service and a toothless, empty bill.

Marion, you've pretty much left the path of all reasonable discourse here, and you're just raving. But you say we have to start somewhere. I agree with that sentiment. However, an ineffectual bill based in political posturing that picks and chooses which terminally ill patients are worth relaxing federal standards for, does nothing to streamline the approval process, and gives politicians a reason to rest on their laurels and not bother with substantive and effectual action? That's so not the somewhere we need to start, OK?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 6 months ago

Best analysis yet badger! Pay heed to his words, he nailed it!


"The false hope that someone in Washington is taking concrete action to speed the FDA process, when in fact someone in Washington is simply taking advantage of them to posture with lip service and a toothless, empty bill."

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