A Miracle Drug Cured Ed Levitt of Stage IV Lung Cancer. Then the FDA Withdrew it From the Market.

 

I have a new video out today (click above) that I made for the
Manhattan Institute, which tells the story of Ed Levitt, who in
2004 was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Unable to get out of
bed and covered in tumors from head to toe, Levitt’s doctors
advised him to start making funeral arrangements.

Levitt’s nurse suggested he try a new experimental drug called
Iressa that could make his radiation treatments more effective. The
goal was strictly palliative; Levitt was told that his best hope
was that the radiation augmented with Iressa could save him from
spending his final days in sheer agony.

A few weeks later, all signs of Ed Levitt’s cancer had
disappeared. Nine years later, he’s still in almost perfect health.
It turns out that Iressa effectively eliminated Levitt’s cancer
because has a genetic mutation affecting what’s called the
epidermal growth factor receptor in his cells. The following year,
the FDA withdrew Iressa from the market. Those who were already
taking it, like Levitt, could continue, but no new patients could
start.Ed Levitt and his wife Linda |||

The FDA’s decision to take Iressa of the market is indicative of
how the agency is out of touch with the emerging paradigm of
personalized medicine. The FDA’s method of conducting clinical
trials is designed to identify drugs that work for the typical or
average patient, “but you’re not wholesale, and neither am I,” says
Peter Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the
author of
The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law is Undermining 21st
Century Medicine
. The war on cancer, Huber argues, will be
won using cocktails of drugs tailored to the unique biology of each
patient and his or her variant of the disease. Only if the FDA
abandons its outdated one-size-fits-all approach to drug regulation
will there be more patients like Ed Levitt.

For more on how the new era of personalized medicine threatens
the FDA’s command and control approach to drug regulation, read

Nick Gillespie
and
Ron Bailey
on the agency’s recent efforts to get the genetic
testing company 23andme to stop selling its genotype screening
test.

For more on how the FDA keeps life-saving treatments out of the
hands of patients, watch Nick Gillespie’s Reason TV
interview
with Peter Huber:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/a-miracle-drug-cured-ed-levitt-of-stage
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Nurse Practitioners Can Make Health Care Cheaper, But Some Doctors Want to Stop Them

“The major motivation in this opposition is kind of a turf war,”
says Dale Ann Dorsey, a nurse practitioner (NP) who runs her own
women’s health clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has pursued
extra clinical training and a master’s degree and is able to
practice medicine beyond the scope of what a regular RN can. How
far beyond that scope NPs should be allowed to go is a question
facing legislators across the country.

Arizona is one of 18 states that allow nurse practitioners to
run independent primary care practices, with full prescribing
privileges, and without the oversight of a licensed physician.
Earlier this year, nurse practitioners in California pushed to
liberalize scope-of-practice rules in the Golden State, only to be

stopped dead in their tracks
by the powerful California Medical
Association (CMA), which
poured more than $1 million into lobbying efforts
in the first
half of 2013 to defeat the legislation.

“[Nurse practitioners’] training is very limited compared to
physicians,” says Paul Phinney, a California pediatrician and
former CMA president. “They lack a certain kind of experience that
I believe is very important to the safety of patients and the
quality of medical care that they’re providing.” 

He has a point. Physicians are required to obtain far
more education and clinical experience
than are nurse
practitioners. But there’s little to no evidence showing that, when
it comes to primary care, all of that extra education makes any
difference in the health outcomes of patients. A 2012 Health
Affairs survey of the medical literature found
no difference in patient health
between groups treated by
doctors and by nurse practitioners. The survey did find a slightly
higher satisfaction rate among patients of nurse practitioners.

So if outcomes are similar, and patients are satisfied, why are
states such as California hesitant to let more nurses open their
own practices? The question is especially pressing since groups
such as the Association of American Medical Colleges are
expecting a severe doctor shortage
 in the near future due
to the aging population. Reason Foundation analyst Adam Summers
says that concern for the public good is a secondary consideration
at best in this case.

“Licensing laws are almost always sold as being in the public
interest,” says Summers. “But in reality all they do is drive up
prices and reduce competition, which reduces the incentive to
provide good services to the consumer.”

Watch the video to learn more about the nurse practitioners’
struggle for clinical independence – a fight that just make health
care cheaper and more available.

Click the link below for downloadable versions, and subscribe to
Reason TV’s YouTube
channel
for daily content like this.

Approximately 5 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by
Tracy Oppenheimer and Weissmueller. Graphics by William Neff.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/nurse-practitioners-can-make-health-care
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Read Reason’s Complete December 2013 Issue

December 2013 issueOur entire
December issue is now available online. Don’t miss: Brian Doherty
on the 3D-printable plastic gun that has government officials on
the run; Katherine Mangu-Ward on the death of Intrade and the
future of predictions markets; Jerry Brito on the power-shifting
potential of Bitcoin; Nick Gillespie and Matthew Welch on George
Will’s libertarian evolution; plus our complete Citings and Briefly
Noted sections, the Artifact, and much more.

Click here to
read Reason’s complete December 2013 issue.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/read-reasons-complete-december-2013-issu
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Editor of The Guardian: Only 1 Percent of Snowden Files Published

Only 1 percent
of the files leaked by Edward Snowden have been published by the
London-based newspaper The Guardian, according to the
paper’s editor.

Speaking before Members of Parliament on the Home Affairs Select
Committee, Alan Rusbridger also said that accusations that
reporting on the information leaked by Snowden had endangered
national security were “very vague and not rooted in specific
stories.”

From the
BBC
:

Only 1% of files leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward
Snowden have been published by the Guardian newspaper, its editor
has told MPs.

But Alan Rusbridger told the Home Affairs Select Committee that
the Guardian was not a “rogue newspaper”.

He insisted the paper’s journalists were “patriots” and
patriotic about democracy and a free press.

He said senior officials in Whitehall and the US administration
had told the paper “no damage” had been caused.

Follow this story and more at Reason
24/7
.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and
Reason articles. You can get the
 widgets
here
. If you have a story that would be of
interest to Reason’s readers please let us know by emailing the
24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories
at 
@reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/editor-of-the-guardian-only-1-percent-o
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Why Walmart is the Big Winner in DC’s Minimum Wage Increase

Earlier this year, Washington,
D.C. flirted with the idea of creating a punitive “living wage”
specifically designed to hit Walmart stores and a few other big-box
retailers. Walmart threatened to pull out of the Capital City if
they were forced to pay that wage. Mayor Vincent
Gray vetoed the bill but promised to back in its place a
general increase in the District’s minimum wage. Now, the city
council has responded with a bill to gradually increase the minimum
wage for all businesses from $8.25 to $11.50 in 2016. The mayor has
countered with $10 an hour but doesn’t have the votes to stave off
the higher number.

At the Washington Examiner,  Sean Higgins explains how
“America’s Place for Savings” is the real winner if and when the
minimum wage gets jacked up by government dictate:

In 2006, Walmart’s then-CEO Lee Scott said… “Though we do not
intend to take a position on any single piece of legislation, we
believe Congress should increase the minimum wage.”

In the case of the D.C. bill, Walmart often already does pay a
$10 or $11.50 wage. According to Payscale.com, Walmart’s cashiers
on average make between $7.50 and $10.77 and sales associates make
between $7.63 and $11.83. Overall, its wages are just five percent
below the retail industry average.

It is a different story for D.C.’s small neighborhood stores —
which already face the daunting prospect of competing with Walmart.
“Small businesses are the least able to absorb … a dramatic
increase in their labor costs,” notes the National Federation of
Independent Business.


Read more.

Score this a win for Walmart then. They can absorb the higher
wage relatively easily while their smaller competitors cannot. And
if faced with job loss or cutbacks at mom-and-pops, expect the City
Council to try and pass an even-higher wage in order to help their
constituents out.

Watch Reason TV’s coverage of “The War on Walmart” (2011) which
features future New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio bloviating about
how Walmart stores are “Trojan horses” that sneak into cities and
destroy their economies (really):

 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/why-walmart-is-the-big-winner-in-dcs-min
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Why Walmart is the Big Winner in DC's Minimum Wage Increase

Earlier this year, Washington,
D.C. flirted with the idea of creating a punitive “living wage”
specifically designed to hit Walmart stores and a few other big-box
retailers. Walmart threatened to pull out of the Capital City if
they were forced to pay that wage. Mayor Vincent
Gray vetoed the bill but promised to back in its place a
general increase in the District’s minimum wage. Now, the city
council has responded with a bill to gradually increase the minimum
wage for all businesses from $8.25 to $11.50 in 2016. The mayor has
countered with $10 an hour but doesn’t have the votes to stave off
the higher number.

At the Washington Examiner,  Sean Higgins explains how
“America’s Place for Savings” is the real winner if and when the
minimum wage gets jacked up by government dictate:

In 2006, Walmart’s then-CEO Lee Scott said… “Though we do not
intend to take a position on any single piece of legislation, we
believe Congress should increase the minimum wage.”

In the case of the D.C. bill, Walmart often already does pay a
$10 or $11.50 wage. According to Payscale.com, Walmart’s cashiers
on average make between $7.50 and $10.77 and sales associates make
between $7.63 and $11.83. Overall, its wages are just five percent
below the retail industry average.

It is a different story for D.C.’s small neighborhood stores —
which already face the daunting prospect of competing with Walmart.
“Small businesses are the least able to absorb … a dramatic
increase in their labor costs,” notes the National Federation of
Independent Business.


Read more.

Score this a win for Walmart then. They can absorb the higher
wage relatively easily while their smaller competitors cannot. And
if faced with job loss or cutbacks at mom-and-pops, expect the City
Council to try and pass an even-higher wage in order to help their
constituents out.

Watch Reason TV’s coverage of “The War on Walmart” (2011) which
features future New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio bloviating about
how Walmart stores are “Trojan horses” that sneak into cities and
destroy their economies (really):

 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/why-walmart-is-the-big-winner-in-dcs-min
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Connecticut Shouldn't Be Surprised That "Fewer People Than Expected Have Registered Weapons"

AR-15Earlier this year, Connecticut politicians
took advantage of the horrific Newtown shootings to dust off a wish
list of
draconian firearms restrictions
and race them through the
legislative process into law. The restrictions wouldn’t have
prevented the mass murder—they would have been completely
irrelevant to the crime, in fact—which may be why they were rammed
through under “emergency certification” with no referrals to
committees or public hearings. Among other things, the new law
requires registration
of “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines
by January 1,
2014. Any student of history could have predicted officials’
current concerns now that relatively few residents are complying
with the law and telling the state what they own as the deadline
fast approaches.

According to
Hugh McQuaid at CT News Junkie
:

As of mid-November, the state had received about 4,100
applications for assault weapon certificates and about 2,900
declarations of large-capacity magazines.

Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s criminal justice
advisor, said that so far fewer people than expected have
registered weapons under the new law. However, he said gun owners
should take seriously the consequences of ignoring the law.
Disregarding the registration requirements can carry felony charges
in some cases, which can make Connecticut residents ineligible to
own guns.

First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before
the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged
with a class A misdemeanor. In other cases, possessing one of the
newly-banned guns will be considered a felony that carries with it
a sentence of at least a year in prison.

“If you haven’t declared it or registered it and you get caught
. . . you’ll be a felon. People who disregard the law are, among
other things, jeopardizing their right to own firearms. If you’re
not a law-abiding citizen, you’re not a law-abiding citizen,”
Lawlor said.

Mike LawlorMr. Lawlor (pictured at right),
like most government officials, seems to think he and his buddies
have invented policy out of whole cloth, and that the population
has no choice but to shuffle along and obey. But weapons
registration laws have a history—a consistent history,
as I’ve written, of noncompliance and defiance
.

State officials could have taken a moment to glance across the
state line to New York City, where a few tens of thousands of
firearms are owned legally, and an estimated two million
are held illegally, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
That is not uncommon. In my piece on the history of gun control’s
failure, I wrote:

The high water mark of American compliance with gun control laws
may have come with Illinois’s handgun registration law in the
1970s. About 25 percent of handgun owners actually complied,
according to Don B. Kates, a criminologist and civil liberties
attorney, writing in the December 1977 issue of Inquiry.
After that, about 10 percent of “assault weapon” owners obeyed
California’s registration law, says David B. Kopel, research
director for Colorado’s Independence Institute, a free-market
think-tank, and author of The Samurai, The Mountie, and The
Cowboy
, a book-length comparison of international firearms
policies.

That one-in-10 estimate may have been generous. As the
registration period came to a close in 1990, The New York
Times

reported
“only about 7,000 weapons of an estimated 300,000 in
private hands in the state have been registered.”

Connecticut may want to look close to home for even
lower compliance figures.
In New Jersey
, reported The New York Times in 1991,
after the legislature passed a law banning “assault weapons,” 947
people registered their rifles as sporting guns for target
shooting, 888 rendered them inoperable, and four surrendered them
to the police. That’s out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000
firearms affected by the law.

Over the years, officials in New York City and California used
registration records to confiscate guns, in violation of their own
promises. That’s a lesson that firearms owners have taken to heart
in this country (and elsewhere), probably permanently dooming the
enforceability of such laws.

The end result of pushing through gun laws that people won’t
obey is very predictable. You end up with a society in which people
continue to own vast numbers of weapons regardless of the law.
Connecticut may be on the way, sometime after the new year’s
registration deadline, to turning itself into a replica of Germany,
where up to 20 million unregistered firearms are held in addition
to 7.2 million legal ones, or France, where as many as 17 million
illegal guns overshadow 2.8 million legal ones.

If you bother to learn from history, it shouldn’t be a surprise
that people stop caring whether they’re “not a law-abiding citizen”
when they lose respect for the law and the people who inflict it on
them.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/connecticut-shouldnt-be-surprised-that-f
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Connecticut Shouldn’t Be Surprised That “Fewer People Than Expected Have Registered Weapons”

AR-15Earlier this year, Connecticut politicians
took advantage of the horrific Newtown shootings to dust off a wish
list of
draconian firearms restrictions
and race them through the
legislative process into law. The restrictions wouldn’t have
prevented the mass murder—they would have been completely
irrelevant to the crime, in fact—which may be why they were rammed
through under “emergency certification” with no referrals to
committees or public hearings. Among other things, the new law
requires registration
of “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines
by January 1,
2014. Any student of history could have predicted officials’
current concerns now that relatively few residents are complying
with the law and telling the state what they own as the deadline
fast approaches.

According to
Hugh McQuaid at CT News Junkie
:

As of mid-November, the state had received about 4,100
applications for assault weapon certificates and about 2,900
declarations of large-capacity magazines.

Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s criminal justice
advisor, said that so far fewer people than expected have
registered weapons under the new law. However, he said gun owners
should take seriously the consequences of ignoring the law.
Disregarding the registration requirements can carry felony charges
in some cases, which can make Connecticut residents ineligible to
own guns.

First-time offenders who can prove they owned the weapon before
the law passed, and have otherwise followed the law, may be charged
with a class A misdemeanor. In other cases, possessing one of the
newly-banned guns will be considered a felony that carries with it
a sentence of at least a year in prison.

“If you haven’t declared it or registered it and you get caught
. . . you’ll be a felon. People who disregard the law are, among
other things, jeopardizing their right to own firearms. If you’re
not a law-abiding citizen, you’re not a law-abiding citizen,”
Lawlor said.

Mike LawlorMr. Lawlor (pictured at right),
like most government officials, seems to think he and his buddies
have invented policy out of whole cloth, and that the population
has no choice but to shuffle along and obey. But weapons
registration laws have a history—a consistent history,
as I’ve written, of noncompliance and defiance
.

State officials could have taken a moment to glance across the
state line to New York City, where a few tens of thousands of
firearms are owned legally, and an estimated two million
are held illegally, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
That is not uncommon. In my piece on the history of gun control’s
failure, I wrote:

The high water mark of American compliance with gun control laws
may have come with Illinois’s handgun registration law in the
1970s. About 25 percent of handgun owners actually complied,
according to Don B. Kates, a criminologist and civil liberties
attorney, writing in the December 1977 issue of Inquiry.
After that, about 10 percent of “assault weapon” owners obeyed
California’s registration law, says David B. Kopel, research
director for Colorado’s Independence Institute, a free-market
think-tank, and author of The Samurai, The Mountie, and The
Cowboy
, a book-length comparison of international firearms
policies.

That one-in-10 estimate may have been generous. As the
registration period came to a close in 1990, The New York
Times

reported
“only about 7,000 weapons of an estimated 300,000 in
private hands in the state have been registered.”

Connecticut may want to look close to home for even
lower compliance figures.
In New Jersey
, reported The New York Times in 1991,
after the legislature passed a law banning “assault weapons,” 947
people registered their rifles as sporting guns for target
shooting, 888 rendered them inoperable, and four surrendered them
to the police. That’s out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000
firearms affected by the law.

Over the years, officials in New York City and California used
registration records to confiscate guns, in violation of their own
promises. That’s a lesson that firearms owners have taken to heart
in this country (and elsewhere), probably permanently dooming the
enforceability of such laws.

The end result of pushing through gun laws that people won’t
obey is very predictable. You end up with a society in which people
continue to own vast numbers of weapons regardless of the law.
Connecticut may be on the way, sometime after the new year’s
registration deadline, to turning itself into a replica of Germany,
where up to 20 million unregistered firearms are held in addition
to 7.2 million legal ones, or France, where as many as 17 million
illegal guns overshadow 2.8 million legal ones.

If you bother to learn from history, it shouldn’t be a surprise
that people stop caring whether they’re “not a law-abiding citizen”
when they lose respect for the law and the people who inflict it on
them.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/connecticut-shouldnt-be-surprised-that-f
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Some Schools Scaling Back Use of Police, Zero Tolerance Policies

schooling?The New York Times
reports
on a trend at some public schools of scaling back
tough-on-crime, zero tolerance-like policies the paper says first
began to be implemented around the country in the 1990s as part of
the war on drugs.  The Times focuses on Broward
County, where:

the shift has shown immediate results, although it is
too early to predict overall success. School-based arrests have
dropped by 41 percent, and suspensions, which in 2011 added up to
87,000 out of 258,000 students, are down 66 percent from the same
period in 2012, school data shows.

Under the new agreement, students caught for the first time
committing any of 11 nonviolent misdemeanors are no longer arrested
and sent to court. Rather, they attend counseling and perform
community service.

The Times also notes the Obama
administration’s role:

Beginning in 2009, the Department of Justice and the
Department of Education aggressively began to encourage schools to
think twice before arresting and pushing children out of school. In
some cases, as in Meridian, Miss., the federal government has sued
to force change in schools.

Some view the shift as politically driven and worry that the
pendulum may swing too far in the other direction. Ken Trump, a
school security consultant, said that while existing policies are
at times misused by school staffs and officers, the policies mostly
work well, offering schools the right amount of
discretion.

A school security consultant! And we have a problem with too
much school security? Supporters of the policy shift in Broward
county includes at least one judge who wants you to know he’s no
liberal. From the Times:

“We started to see the officers as a disciplinary
tool,” said Judge Elijah H. Williams of Broward County Circuit
Court, a juvenile judge who said he was “no flaming liberal” but
saw the need for change. “Somebody writes graffiti in a stall,
O.K., you’re under arrest. A person gets caught with a marijuana
cigarette, you’re under arrest.”

So they’ll still be arresting students for non-violent crimes.
School security consultants can breathe easy.

Scott Shackford noted efforts in LA to roll back the use of
police in schools there
last week
and the wider backlash against zero tolerance in
schools
last year
.

More Reason on zero tolerance and
police in
schools
.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/some-schools-scaling-back-use-of-police
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Big Cities Are Safer Than Rural Counties

tractor fallen overBack in the early 1990s, when i lived in
the East Village, I would enjoy whiling away nights at the Loisaida bar, Safety in
Numbers. The motivating idea behind the bar’s name was that
aspiring black-clad hipsters like me were supposed to be safer in
that dangerous neighborhood when traveling in packs.

I love big cities the way that a kid who grew up on an
Appalachian dairy farm can only do – with fierce devotion. A new
study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that has taken
its title from my favorite poetry slam venue, “Safety
in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United
States?
” compares injury death rates between crowded big cities
and rural solitude. Using data from 1999 to 2006, it turns out that
with respect to dying from injuries people are much safer in Times
Square than they are riding the range. The study reports:

The overall injury death rate increased with increasing
rurality, and a significant difference between the injury death
rate in the most rural compared with the most urban counties was
identified (difference of 24.0 per 100,000 to 31.6 per
100,000)….

Despite public perception to the contrary, when all types of
injuries are considered together, rural areas, not urban, bear a
disproportionate amount of injury-related mortality risk in the
United States. Although variability among urban areas clearly
exists, when urban areas were considered as a group, risk of
serious injury resulting in death was approximately 20% lower than
in the most rural areas of the country. Although our findings
support the belief that homicide rates and risk of homicide are
significantly higher in urban areas compared with rural, we
demonstrate that the magnitude of homicide-related deaths, even in
urban areas, is outweighed by the magnitude of unintentional injury
deaths, particularly those resulting from motor vehicles. In fact,
the rate of unintentional injury death is more than 15 times that
of homicide among the entire population, with the risk resting
heavily in rural areas such that the risk of unintentional injury
death is 40% higher in the most rural counties compared with the
most urban.

I will note that the homicide rate in New York City has fallen
by
80 percent
since the 1990s, and in fact there were only 418
murders in 2012, the lowest total since record keeping began in the
1960s. The Big Apple is now practically an adult Disney World.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/big-cities-are-safer-than-rural-counties
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