Question of the Week #5

QuestionIf 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?

Normally, I would be inclined to say yes. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one percent, as the case may be. Statistic: 2.4 billion people suffer from some form of arthritis worldwide. If they all tried this new medicine and 1% of them would die from it, that would be 24 million deaths. That seems like a lot. I feel like the Food & Drug Administration would have a moral obligation to set up a recall on this new miracle arthritis cure. And then we would all be forced to suffer through crappy law office commercials from sub-par lawyers who specialize in suing pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing and selling this miracle arthritis cure. It’s like, every time you turn on The Price Is Right, there’s a commercial for some sleazy lawyer who wants you to sue someone because your grandfather took a gamble so that his knees wouldn’t hurt anymore. Therefore, my answer is no. Who needs more law office commercials in the world?

Would you release the drug? And if so, how could you live with yourself? Maybe you don’t have a TV, so you won’t have to deal with those new lawyer commercials. But why make the rest of us suffer? Stop being such a sadist!

*Actual statistic: Approximately 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis.

**Actual confession: I made up the 2.4 billion statistic. But that’s still 3.5 million deaths from this new wonder drug, you sadist!

***The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.


One thought on “Question of the Week #5

  1. I think I’d be ok with it being released to the public within the confines of prescription meds that docs are allowed to give out- but ONLY after fully explaining the odds/consequences. (Honestly, I’d like to see a couple mandatory counselling sessions before prescriptions with high risks are provided in general, including many meds currently available.)

    I know there are a lot of young people out there that have some level of arthritis already, my little bro included in that. He would not be a good candidate for it though, as he has a lot of life left to live hopefully, and his arthritis does not degrade his quality of life to such an extent as to take on that much risk. However, some people have such a high level of pain brought on by arthritis that their quality of life is greatly lowered. If they were to decide that the pain was worth the risk, I’d be ok with it. And by “ok with it,” I mean I could live with myself. I might be awake much of the night, but that’s really not that different than my life currently. Of course, looking at the effects of long-term sleep deprivation, it’s actually kind of like a slow death, so maybe I wouldn’t be alive that long- but I’d still probably die quicker than it would take to get the meds through all the political and medical red tape, so whatevs.


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