Americans are getting Healthier...
But the FDA Remains a Major Impediment
According to a new study, life is not only becoming longer in the U.S., it appears to be getting better. People over age 84 in 1993 were shown to be healthier and more independent compared with those the same age in 1986. This new report was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (January 26, 2000)
The study also showed that fewer men and women over age 84 used healthcare services and entered into nursing homes during the last year of their lives. According to a co-author of the report, Dr. Richard S. Cooper, "There have been substantial changes over the last generation in terms of health-related behaviors and we are beginning to see the impact of that among the elderly."
One example of how Americans are taking better care of themselves can be seen in the explosive growth of vitamin supplements. Sales of dietary supplements in the United States in 1982 were only two billion dollars. By 1999, dietary supplement sales topped fifteen billion dollars. Based on the health and longevity effects that supplements confer on human populations, there should be increasing numbers of Americans who live independently, relatively free of the common degenerative diseases that have afflicted previous generations.
One of the most startling statistics can be seen in the dramatic decline in deaths from heart attack since the 1950s. While heart disease remains the number one killer, statistics show fewer than 50% of Americans are dying from heart disease today compared to the 1950s. Conventional medicine likes to credit better control of hypertension, bypass surgery and new cardiovascular drugs as the major reason for this sharp reduction in cardiac mortality. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, points to better diet, heathier lifestyles and increased use of cardio-protective supplements as the primary reason fewer Americans are dying from heart attacks. We believe that improvements in both prevention and treatment have led to this sharp reduction in cardiac mortality, and we predict that death rates from other common diseases will soon start showing significant declines as well.
Why these stats are not good enough
There is strong scientific reason to believe that the eradication of killer diseases and control of human aging may be right around the corner. The problem is that an entire generation of Americans may perish waiting for the FDA to approve these breakthrough therapies.
There are biotech companies making revolutionary medical discoveries, but the FDA's regulatory quagmire prevents many of these potential life saving therapies from making it to market. We reprint an unsolicited letter here that exemplifies the problem that small drug companies have in dealing with the FDA. This exceptionally well stated letter, detailing how the FDA stifles medical innovation, was sent to me by a biotech company President.
We believe that the solution to the FDA's bureaucratic obstruction of advancement in medicine is to radically restructure or abolish the agency. The dilemma is that the average person still thinks the FDA does what it is supposed to, i.e. "protect and promote the health of the American public." The unfortunate facts are that science is moving ahead too rapidly for any central bureaucracy to keep up with it all. The FDA roadblock against progress has to be dismantled or everyone reading this editorial will die from a disease that could have been prevented or cured if free enterprise was allowed into the medical science arena.