This has long bothered me as well. Why are doctors (and governments) given such vast powers over which drugs are ok for a patient? Seems like a capricious system. Competent adults should be allowed to treat themselves as they see fit (which of course they often do by resorting to other means, or alternative medicine, etc.), and not strictly as their doctor sees fit. No other profession has quite as much power as doctors do in this instance.
Glenn Greenwald – Salon
I’ve always been interested in the topic of prescription drug laws because — even more than laws which prohibit adults from using recreational drugs — it seems absolutely unjustifiable for the government to prevent adult citizens from deciding for themselves which pharmaceutical products they want to use. Put another way, it seems unfathomable that competent adults are first required to obtain the “permission” of a doctor before being “allowed” to obtain and consume the medications they think they need — and that they are committing crimes if they do not first obtain that permission (or, worse, if they try to obtain that permission and are unable to do so).
Why should the doctor have the ability to override the decisions of the patient? Why should the doctor’s permission be required before the patient undergoes the pharmaceutical treatment he chooses? That really makes no sense to me, and for that reason, I am vehemently opposed to these prescription laws.
Beyond all of that, there is even less reason for the Federal government to be monitoring what substances anyone takes. In addition to all the other reasons I listed in the post and commenters have added, I am also convinced — reading around everywhere today on this topic — that there are substantial numbers of people foregoing pharmaceutical treatments that they think they should have (and which even their physicians recommend) because they fear having that information registered in data bases with the government.
Adults have the right to do all sorts of things that other people, including experts in a particular field, think are stupid and self-destructive, even when the person’s livelihood or even life are at stake. That is, more or less, a defining attribute of being an adult.
What is the difference between the attorney-client and doctor-patient relationship, where the former is purely advisory but the latter becomes parental? And other than consumption of medicine which can actually affect the public health (such as excessive consumption of antibiotics), why should an adult be deemed a criminal for using a particular medicine all because a doctor (for whatever reasons, including self-interest) will not give permission?