stat counnnter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Mass Preventive Medicine Urged

The Monday Nov. 10th. Detroit News carried an AP article titled "Cholesterol drugs lower heart attack risks." It is an example of mass preventive medicine in action. On June 1st I posted on this idea of mass preventive medicine quoting in part from Gary Taubes book Good Calories:Bad Calories:
"This strategy [collective medicine-ME] is credited to the British epidemiologist Geoffrey Rose, a longtime veteran of the dietary-fat controversy. "The mass approach is inherently the only ultimate answer to the problem of mass disease," Rose explained in 1981.

"But, however much it may offer to the community as a whole, it
offers little to each participating individual. When mass
diphtheria immunization was introduced in Britain 40 years ago,
even then roughly 600 children had to be immunized in order that
one life be saved--599 'wasted' immunizations for the one that was
effective....This is the kind of ratio that one has to accept in
mass preventive medicine. A measure applied to many will actually
benefit few." (Rose quote)

When it came to dietary fat and heart disease, according to Rose's calculation, only one man in every fifty might expect to avoid a heart attack by virtue of avoiding saturated fat for his entire adult life: "Forty-nine out of fifty would eat differently everyday for forty years and perhaps get nothing from it." (pp66,67) (End of Taubes quote.)

So we see that 49 people will be sacrificed for the alleged benefit of one. That is collectivism.
Now back to this Detroit News article. It says:
"However, some doctors urged caution. Crestor gave clear benefit in the study, but so few heart attacks and deaths occurred among these low-risk people that treating everyone like them in the United States could cost up to $9 billion a year -- "a difficult sell," one expert said.

About 120 people would have to take Crestor for two years to prevent a single heart attack, stroke or death, said Stanford University cardiologist Dr. Mark Hlatky."
So the government gets to start the use of force against 120 people for the alleged benefit of one. 119 people will be forced to take a drug which will do them no good, for the benefit of one mathematical artifact called a probability.

But notice the reasons given for opposing this policy; it's too expensive, about $9 billion yr. and we could be using the money for other forms of preventive care. Nothing is mentioned about how each one of those 120 people are to have their individual rights violated when doctors will be forced to put everyone on these cholesterol lowering statins. It is the sacrifice of all to all, not to achieve any real goal but as a permanent way of medicinal practice. Whether it actually prevents any illness is immaterial, it's the good intentions that count. It's also an example of children--who have never been taught that the good can not be achieved with the initiatory use of force--who are now grown up to be doctors and other professionals who see no reason not to lobby for using that force.

Readers of ME know that the collectivist mind doesn't see individuals like you and me. We don't count. They only see the collective whole as mentioned in the above link. They want to treat it without having to treat actual individuals.

For more information of collective medicine check out the web site of FIRM and their blog.

And to get an idea of the extent of questionable medical science today, I recommend JunkfoodScience by Sandy Szwarc.

2 comments:

Robert Nasir said...

Was there a plan for the government to force folks to use these medications?

I didn't see that in the article ... but it would certainly be bad for the State to compel preventive medicine.

At present, I'm more concerned about the government deciding a medication is NOT worth allowing people to choose to take - and forbidding it in the name of not squandering our collective wealth.

If a man can afford to take a drug which will lower his risk of cholesterol-related disease (whether by a large margin, or by 1/120th), and it's worth it to him to do so, that should be his decision, and his right ... and more power to him.

(And heck, I just might need such a med' after the holiday feasting which officially begins tomorrow night at our place ... hope to see you there!)

Mike N said...

Robert:
You're right that the article did not mention government action. I was just going or alluding to the usual method of collective concept acceptance by a culture. Geoffery Rose invented the concept of mass preventive medicine. Others then try to find a barrel of apples or oranges or plums (some aspect of society) with bad ones in it. They then do statistical studies to determine the extent of the badness. These documents will then be published as a need that government should address. The government will address it but not necessarily with direct intervention, probably with government encouragement in a round about way ala the housing crises. Perhaps doctors will be rated on how many of their patients are given this preventive medicine. And so it goes.

I agree with your concern about a medicine denied to people without their having a choice about it. But some of that will happen with rationed (socialized) medicine.

As things stand right now, I'll be there for dinner. (drooling already)