Re: capitalist religion

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Jul 19 2001 - 07:10:32 MDT

On Wed, Jul 18, 2001 at 06:55:20PM -0400, Smigrodzki, Rafal wrote:
> Alex Bokov wrote:
> >I agree that the medical industry would be better off with less
> >regulation, but there must be an open, public accreditation standardhat is
> controlled by the consumers-- a combination of >standardized
> >exams for practitioners and summaries of what has been observed about
> >the effects of every existing drug and intervention in a language
> >readable by the lay public. This can be a private effort, and a
> I would agree with first part of this paragraph (curbing the power of the
> FDA, making their approval a non-binding accreditation, awarding a seal of
> approval, rather than the compulsory application for the right to market and
> use) but I also think that gathering information about the efficacy of drugs
> would do poorly without governement funding - there are some types of
> information, like the results of extensive clinical trials, (e.g. WARSS, a
> recent comparison of aspirin and warfarin in stroke) which are extremely
> expensive to obtain

Couldn't this kind of studies be funded commercially? I see several
possible sources of income. First, private health information services
would like to be first with useful decision heuristics, especially if they
can gain from people referring to these studies (a reliable information
service would likely have to give literature citations to remain accredited
and convincing, so even when competing services refer to "drug X is better
than Y" they would have to include links to the originating/sponsoring
service). Second, many drug companies would be interested in efficacy
trials (sure, they might risk having the worse drug, but not supporting a
trial could be even worse PR). Third, of course all the current non-profit
organisations would still likely be interested in funding some of these
studies: everything from the NIH to patient organisations. The testing
could be handled by a third party testing organisation to minimize bias,
perhaps with standardized oversight and procedures.

Also, the cost of these studies might be decreased using technological
means. I think Halperin had a very intriguing idea in _The Truth Machine_
about commercial health monitors with an opt-in program enabling massive
data mining of population health. Solutions like that could enable
large sample sizes with less overhead. It should be possible to come up
with clever ways of handling double-blind testing of drugs similarly.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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