Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Genuine Placebo Products -- Accept No Substitutes

I guess when you can't afford to dispense real treatment and real drugs, you go with what you've got. Like sugar pills.

That's what Gulf War vet Mike Woods got from the VA when he applied for medical assistance for his profound Gulf War Illness symptoms. His VA doctor prescribed a "new medication that would really help with all the physical conditions and pain".

The new drug? Obecalp.

Obecalp? That's right, Obecalp.

Spell it backwards: placebo. As in sugar pills. As in no therapeutic value. As in trying to fake out the recipient of the "treatment" to make him believe that you are doing something for him when in fact you are doing nothing. As in no treatment at all.

Okay, I will admit that placebo drugs do have their place, as part of a controlled drug-efficacy experiment, and I will also concede that the phrase "placebo effect" exists for a reason, but I also think that it's unconscionable (that word again -- I seem to use it a lot) for the VA to give a patient a placebo as part of a routine treatment regimen.

Placebos are generally thought of -- and used in -- research projects to validate the effectiveness of a new drug. They should not be used in place of real treatment for real diseases, in hopes that the placebo effect will serve to ameliorate the patient's symptoms and therefore obviate the need for those prohibitively expensive "real" treatment drugs.

But when it comes to America's veterans, the Baby Doc Maladminstration is right up there in the forefront of support.

Uh, Georgie? Don't "support" us veterans any more. We really can't afford it.

1 Comment:

Granny said...

You're going to think I just come over here to swipe your material.

I hadn't seen this anywhere else.

I like Patty Murray. I remember when she campaigned in tennis shoes "the year of the women".