Sunday, September 16, 2007

Readers' Corner

I just wanted to highlight a comment made by one of my readers. I think it illustrates the point of screw your safety, we're taking this Prime Time

From my comment section:

I don't disagree that there is and will be a "gap phase" but the assertion that "overselling genomics could ruin the promise of personalized medicine" is ludicrous! The technology is going wherever it can no matter what - the more "wild west" the approach, the more tracks get followed, then darwinism (and capitalism) takes over and the worst ideas die off anyway. Otherwise, why don't we still have people with red flags walking in front of our cars? Where is the grand thinking that took the US to the moon nearly 40 years ago? "Nanny-state" thinking and unnecessary caution is this country's worst enemy.

Nanny State?

I guess child labor laws are nanny state.

What about making sure children's toys don't have lead paint on them? Oh, but that would be nanny state too. Clearly interfering with the progress of corporate america...

The Sherpa Says: I hope this comment puts this square in your face. Let the buyer beware, because the seller isn't going to. I imagine they did a boatload of calculations and assurances of safety PRIOR to ever launching that rocket. You always should when human safety is on the line. But heck, why should we with genomics in medicine? That would just be a nanny state. The lack of regard for human safety and medical malpractice is disgusting........ To this esteemed reader. I agree to disagree.


Hercules said...

well I'll give you child labor laws and lead paint... I'm not arguing against regulation, but pointing out that human reward and progress requires risk, and the risks in "overselling genomics" are likely outweighed by the reward to society overall. However, I agree with your example of the acceptable risk of "launching the rocket", considering the fates of Apollo 1, Apollo 13, Challenger and Columbia.

Steve Murphy MD said...

The problem...The astronauts knew the risk of failure. Does the public know the risk of false positives in the genome? If they do (which I argue we never will know the future risks) then they should sign waivers accepting that risk. Personally, when someone asks me to sign a waiver I have second thoughts about doing things...i.e. bungee jumping. But often I will then do it. No one is misrepresenting that bungee jumping is the safest thing in the world to do. But genotyping via DTC is being represented this way!!!!
Heck, I guess you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette right???

Hercules said...

I am strongly against all DTC testing -- I am back to my orginal comment that there is no such thing as "overselling genomics" in the long run: that research and usage ideas shuld be allowed to run rampant ("wild west" approach) with the best ideas rising to the top and the worst ideas killed off, by peer pressure, regulation or lack of market uptake.