Thursday, April 28, 2005

I been Toilin' on the Mystery Railroad

Not really, but I have been attending lots of events related to the Edgar week activities here in New York hosted by Mystery Writers of America, of which I am a proud, pulp-pushing, Associate Member. I cannot be an Active Member because I'm unpublished in this field (well, any field, if I'm candid), but some charitably prefer to call my status pre-published. I always think of it as unpaid.
I've been meeting agents to pitch my second book, and have five or six to follow up, which is terrific. I've attended good sessions at the symposium about publishing and publicizing one's work. I've met many writers: some unpaid like me, some well-advanced in bestselling careers, and lots in-between. I've developed warmer acquaintanceships with the local NYC MWA crowd. It's all been fun and worthwhile, if exahusting. Tonight is the final event, the formal banquet for the Edgar Awards. Now that I know a couple of nominees, the pageant becomes even more exciting.

So, with that rationalization of yesterday's bloglessness, here's a quick dose of a bitter pill.

As I've raved repeatedly, the pharmaceutical approval process is broken. Also, the social and economic one-two punch of nanny-state demands for safety over progress combined with obscenely lucrative litigation awards has obstructed access to beneficial therapies and cures for millions.

In the latest spasm of reaction to the yanking (rather than prudent relabeling) of Vioxx, sufferers of MS won't be able to get a drug which so far shows unprecedented effectiveness against disease progression and relapse. Why, you ask? Because in three instances, people in the clinical studies contracted a rare viral disease and two died from it. However, we can't even be sure that Tysabri, the new drug, was the culprit in these cases, because the three patients were all taking other drugs which are known immunosuppressors. But let's assume for ranting's sake that we became convinced by data, not hysteria, that Tysabri created this viral risk. I believe if the possibilities were properly identified, many MS sufferers who tend to be well-informed about their conditions and options would still opt, even pound down doors, to try this new drug. My side bet is they'd even sign liability waivers to do it. Why, you ask again, you pest? Because like the odd viral disease, MS can be lethal, although even when it doesn't kill, it often blinds and paralyzes anyway. How comfy are we with deciding which risk someone else should prefer?

When considering tort reform, the FDA's culture and practice, and some inaccurately-labeled "liberal" desires to see Americans straitjacketed into socialized medicine, people should remember that Freedom of Choice means the most to people stuck between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

Read Michael Fumento's article in Townhall here:

(UPDATE: Michael Fumento is a discredited creep. I still believe in what I wrote, however, I must alert you that this article link may be dead, as this man was, quite unfortunately, a paid mouthpiece.)

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