One thing most people can agree on: COVID-19 won’t be the last public health emergency. There are already concerning headlines about an early spike of R.S.V. impacting children. The leaders of captured health agencies must learn from their mistake of allowing the pharmaceutical industry unimpeded control of pandemic health policy. Americans are incredibly forgiving people willing to show grace, but step one in that process is a willingness for those in charge to admit their mistakes.
This bill will lead to even more morbidity and mortality, not only in COVID, but in other diseases as well. Pharma already controls the medical journals and Federal Health agencies. But they don’t control independent physician’s opinions and voices. Well, at least they didn’t until now.
Over socially distanced glasses of chardonnay, well-to-do Beltway residents cling to their COVID-19 narrative where vaccines funded by the big pharmaceutical companies offer the only hope. In their world, no one — not even children — is safe without a vaccine. Anyone who dares deviate from the company line is dismissed as a backwater Trump-supporting conspiracist, even lifelong Democrats like me.
Tribalism and polarization have made our political and medical discourse nasty and divisive. Doctors must be kept above the partisan fray, not forced to take sides and pick a jersey. Our jobs are too important, and we need to be apolitical to maintain credibility with everyone who comes to us seeking treatment. Progress and innovative medical breakthroughs in the future depend on freedom and medical choice now.
Ending this cycle of perpetual disinformation requires revamping our dysfunctional drug approval process. An independent board free of pharma industry conflicts must be established to oversee trials for re-purposed medicines. Recommendations should be based on trials designed by impartial experts and actual results, not the desired ones, and policymakers or prescribers who ignore the findings should be held accountable.
The majority of pharmacists (not all!) have simply stopped thinking critically or devoting effort to review the evidence base, instead simply believing what they are told by their Boards (a.k.a. their “Ministries of Truth”). As if the insane numbers of ill omicron patients to care for is not challenging enough.