Sunday, April 17, 2005

Unitended Consequences

When politics, money, and medicine collide, the resulting multi-car pileup seems to grow exponentially. I don't presume to have any answers, but this Washington Post article illustrates the law of unintended consequences quite well. No one would argue that more transparent and honest accounting practices are critical to our economy, and no one would argue that we should not have a safe vaccine supply.... and yet these two seemingly unrelated issues are causing a big headache. If there is an amusing aspect to this situation, it is to hear the one Congressman who has done the most harm to the practice of medicine in the past 50 years, Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), whine that it is all the fault of the Bush administration:

"It's inexcusable that even though the administration had the money for this, they haven't made any progress," Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) said recently. "I don't care how they solve it -- they should just solve it."

Perhaps, Mr. Waxman, we should encourage manufacturers to develop and make new vaccines, rather than punish them for making a profit.