Within health and medical systems that some see as heavily influenced by pharmaceutical money, there is concern that available treatment options and possibilities have been constrained in significant and severe ways. For instance, insurance companies often pay for drug treatment but may not be willing to support other lifestyle and natural approaches. In other cases, people have felt coerced to start a particular treatment (e.g., for a mental health condition) or felt forced to give their child a certain treatment (e.g., chemotherapy).
Out of these concerns, there are calls for more protection for “health freedom” - the space to self-determine and choose for oneself one’s course of treatment and approach to health overall.
Others see both the concern over freedom and undue pharmaceutical influence to be silly and overwrought. For these, current research approaches, emerging scientific consensus on certain treatment outcomes,and watchdog agencies like the FDA can and ought to be trusted in their authority to protect society.
QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:
- Do you trust doctors? Do you do what they tell you to do? Why or why not?
- If a friend who had a medical condition told you that they were demanding greater freedom to determine their own course of care, how would you respond? Would you applaud them or caution them? Why?
- If everyone had the perfect right to choose whatever medical treatments they wanted, whether or not those treatments were appropriate or effective, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? How would you behave in that situation? How would others behave?
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