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The Cure in the Code by Peter Huber

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6

THE SOCIAL CONTRACT

WE ARE NOW over a century into a legal struggle that has yet to end. It concerns the patient’s right to control his or her own body—all of it, not just the procreative parts—and the drug company’s right to supply the drug that perhaps will provide the control. The “perhaps” is at the center of the struggle: who decides whether it will or won’t?

In 1902, the Constitution affirmed the patient’s right to make all the calls. Today a blend of constitutional and statutory law affirms Washington’s authority to decide whether a medicinal drug will provide the control that the patient seeks, while also affirming the patient’s right to use any drug, once licensed, pretty much as the patient and doctor see fit. In 1902, private contract ...

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