Monday, July 11, 2005

Pro-life drug policy

At the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Dimitri Vassilaros has this column about the FDA and drugs for the terminally ill.

I didn't see him say anything about marijuana for the terminally ill, but it's the same issue.

He's right. The right of sick people to have access to treatments that might work -- and in the case of mary-jane -- that gives them comfort -- is more fundamental. (Over at Reason Magazine, I saw an item making the argument that the Meth problem is a result of drug-prohibition; meth is uncannily similiar to old-time "bathtub gin.")


Jonathan Watson said...

Perhaps it has nothing to do with protecting patients from themselves.

I would argue that there are two related legal issues with terminally ill patients. One is that someone so near to and in such mental and emotional confusion could arguable have no capacity to give consent to the reception of such a .

The second is that if these actually do one of these patients harm, it could end up them, leaving the FDA with a massive lawsuit by the survivors, no matter how carefully they worded a consent agreement.

Finally, on a philosophical level, I am not sure that an argument that something "is" (as in the case of medicinal ) implies somehow that an "ought" also exists.


Father Martin Fox said...


I understand your points; you're right about the legal quicksand, and logically, an "is" does not necessarily imply an "ought."

The moral principle here is the dignity and autonomy of the patient; dignity demanding comfort care (hence the use of marijuana), and autonomy meaning the patient can elect to take a risk in his or her own treatment, provided it has some basis in reason -- hence seeking risky treatment, which is certainly reasonable when others have failed.

Actually, the U.S. government and its agencies have sovereign immunity; can't be sued. It would be some private company. But that just points out how twisted, in a "Bleak House" sort of way, our legal system has become.

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