Defelice Commentary of July 2004

Stephen L. DeFelice, M.D.

The vast majority of Americans are correct in their belief that modern technology offers enormous medical promise. They are unaware, however, that the barriers to deliver this medical promise are also enormous. For decades we have been told about exciting potential medical breakthroughs, but such news is invariably followed by the message that it will take a significant amount of time before these potential breakthroughs become available to doctors to patients. But, unbelievable as it may seem, not once have I heard the question asked, “Why are they taking so long to arrive?”

My answer to the question is that the American system is misanthropic in that, like a stealth bomber, is effectively designed to block the clinical testing of these therapies without being noticed. The result? Many millions of patients have or are needlessly suffering and dying before they should.

I have had a long career in scientific-medical research and have experienced, firsthand, the formidable barriers to medical discovery. For this reason, I decided to create this column in order to both offer ways to effectively diminish these barriers as well as discuss potential new therapies themselves.

Occasionally, guest authors will contribute to this column. I do invite comments and criticism from the readers. But, unfortunately, because of the volume, I am not able to respond to all. I will, however, select a few which will follow each column.