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02 September 2011

It's the Friday Night Question, chosen at random from The Book of Questions...[More:]

#5: If a new medicine were developed that would cure arthritis but cause a fatal reaction in 1 percent of those who took it, would you want it to be released to the public?
Yep, that's totally an individual's decision to make.
posted by Ardiril 02 September | 17:14
Provided that the risk was fully disclosed, absolutely. People are entitled to make their choice and take their chance.
posted by bearwife 02 September | 17:45
In other words, "Are you a libertarian?"
posted by Eideteker 02 September | 18:01
Doesn't a fair amount of stuff do that already?
posted by Madamina 02 September | 18:02
Yeah, I'm with Madamina: this doesn't seem significantly different from the current state, except that 1% sounds pretty high.
posted by Elsa 02 September | 18:04
except that 1% sounds pretty high. - Heh, I was on the the table under Twilight and I had to make a then-and-there decision to proceed with a 50% chance of fatality. Sometimes you just gotta roll the dice and hope for the best.
posted by Ardiril 02 September | 18:11
Oh, sure: for individual cases, the odds can be stacked pretty horribly. But a blanket probability of 1% for the entire population of users sounds high to me.
posted by Elsa 02 September | 18:14
Sure, I would want it released, if the all the information were released as well. People take substantially higher risks on a daily basis, and it's not my place to decide for them whether that risk is or isn't worth taking.
posted by fancyoats 02 September | 18:57
E: Gotcha.
posted by Ardiril 02 September | 19:16
Having seen a couple of people live with the effects of really horrible arthritis, yeah, I'd say release it as long people know what their odds are. In the real world, you'd never get A) perfect transparency about the odds, nor B) an escape from liability lawsuits.

In other words, "Are you a libertarian?"

Very true Eidetaker, on this issue, it's a libertarian position being proposed. But "Are you?" implies a whole set of beliefs, not just a position on one issue.
posted by BoringPostcards 02 September | 19:42
Yes, and release it with full disclosure.
posted by deborah 02 September | 19:45
What, you mean they'd tell people? I kind of go on the assumption that most things released nowadays probably have that kind of risk attached - it's just not mentioned. They know and they don't care or, to be generous, they don't know and they don't care enough to find out. Nobody knows, everybody's busy and what the hell, we stand to make some money, here! So, as regards to this question, I'd probably say, hey, barn door, horse, etc, sure. What a refreshing change, to hear actual, known odds instead of an overworked, bored PA saying hon, you takes your chances, I hear it's great - if your insurance covers it, you can have it.
posted by mygothlaundry 02 September | 19:47
My docs tell me, mgl, when I ask. I always ask.
posted by Ardiril 02 September | 20:24
Personally, I'd need to know what the fatal reaction was like. If we're talking about an agonizing death from the medicine, I'd decline the treatment, live a little longer, spread out the agony over the years... but I don't speak for everyone. People should have the option to assess such risks themselves.
posted by Hugh Janus 02 September | 22:29
I was briefly on the cholesterol medication Baycol that was pulled from the market in 2001. The extremely painful side effect "rhabdomyolysis" was rare and much more rarely fatal (and could be caused by any of the related "statin" drugs on the market), but Bayer voluntarily pulled it after 31 deaths in four years, which based on the wide acceptance of the drug could not have been more than one in ten-thousand (maybe 100-thousand) cases. Of course, a cholesterol cutter is barely comparable to an arthritis CURE. But I made my choice to use the drug and I'm still using something similar, which I have been told is about to have its maximum allowable dosage cut in half because of similar concerns. Ironically, my doctor, to help me save money on a costly med, has prescribed that maximum dose, then told me to cut the pills in half. The half dosage pills cost almost the same as the high dosage ones. So the only way this will affect me is in the pocketbook.

But a 1% chance of death for a cure to a usually NOT lethal condition? If the FDA ever allowed such a choice (maybe this is after the Republicans abolish the FDA), I would not choose it... for now. But a few years down the line, if the arthritis got really bad, and the medication would still be effective...
posted by oneswellfoop 03 September | 04:37
My grandmother had very painful arthritis. One of her hands was nearly curled up like a claw. I'm pretty sure she would have answered this, "Where can I get some, right now?"
posted by Splunge 03 September | 07:53
Bring teh funnay, pls. || Tomorrowland, 1965