End of Life Issues Become Complicated Once They Get Political
Dem candidates threaten to lock up Big Pharma execs over the opioid crisis at a time when people in hospice care who are suffering from intense pain want greater access to opioids.
Years ago, when I first wrote about the pros and cons of physician assisted suicide, there were four arguments in favor of the practice. The first of these was The Mercy Argument. We don’t keep our pets alive when they are suffering. Why must our loved ones be kept alive in such a state?
My research at that time (early 1990s) uncovered one of the reasons people feared death was the suffering that often preceded it. What frustrated many oncologists was that the fear of getting people addicted to pain meds caused regulators to err on the side of restricted use. In short, many people suffered who didn’t need to. Meds existed that could reduce or even eliminate pain. Caution prevailed.
Today we still desire less suffering in our final days, weeks or months. Yet politicians want to blame pharmaceuticals for investing in ways to deliver solutions. A few of our Democratic candidates suggest CEOs should be put in jail.
If companies are deliberately designing products to get people addicted, that is one thing. If a company’s products are being misused, that is another.
If we disincentivize the development of effective pain meds, we’ll live to regret it.