Even by today's standards of bizarre judicial rulings, this recent federal appeals court ruling is truly shocking.
"In a 8-2 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled terminally ill patients do not have a constitutional right to have access to life- saving drugs that have passed only limited safety trials and have not been approved for marketing.
'We conclude there is no fundamental right deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition of access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill,' Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority." ( emphasis added)
There is "no fundamental right" of a private American citizen to take whatever actions he deems necessary, short of violating the rights of others, to further his own life and well-being? What constitution is Judge Griffith and the court majority looking at? Is not the right to Life and Liberty "deeply rooted in this nations history"?. Does not the phrase "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men" in the Declaration of Independence constitute the very foundational principle upon which the American constitution in based?
The ruling overturned a previous court decision which upheld a dying patient’s “fundamental right to potentially life-saving medicine” because “[t]he decision threatened to shake the foundations of the FDA's regulatory authority, with the agency arguing such a right would create unacceptable risks for patients[?] and undermine the clinical trial system” (emphasis added). Translation: the bureaucratic power of government officials takes precedence over the rights and lives of private citizens.
What we are seeing is a concrete example of the nature of collectivism (the supremacy of the group over the individual) and it’s moral foundation, altruism (which upholds individual self-sacrifice for the sake of others as a person’s highest virtue), in action. Of what importance are the rights of a few terminally ill patients and their selfish desire to live, asks this court and the FDA, compared to the needs of “society”, as determined by federal regulators?
The government’s primary function is to protect the rights of it’s citizens, not to engage in the sacrifice of some for the benefit of others. Liberty includes the right to engage in the free and uncoerced trade of goods and services. A patient has the right to take on the risks of experimental drugs. A pharmaceutical company has the right to sell or give the medicine to the patient (as well as to deny it to the patient if, for example, doing so would jeopardize it’s clinical trials by shrinking the pool of potential volunteers) on it’s sole discretion. The government's role should only be to ensure that the medicines potential effects are not misrepresented (which is fraud), and that the patient (or his designated representative) is completely well informed.
This atrocious ruling is a violation of individual rights and of the government’s proper function and should be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
(For more on this case, see The Deadly FDA.)