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John Stossel
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Whose Body Is It?


People suffer and die because the government "protects" us. It should protect us less and respect our liberty more.

The most basic questions are: Who owns you, and who should control what you put into your body? In what sense are you free if you can't decide what medicines you will take?

This will be the subject of my Fox Business program tomorrow night.

We'll hear from people like Bruce Tower. Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower's outraged response was: "Side effects — who cares? Every treatment I've had I've suffered from side effects. If I'm terminal, it should be my option to endure any side effects."

Of course it should be his option. Why, in our "free" country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying?

Dr. Alan Chow invented a retinal implant that helps some blind people see ( Demonstrating that took seven years and cost $50 million dollars of FDA-approved tests. But now the FDA wants still more tests. That third stage will take another three years and cost $100 million. But Chow doesn't have $100 million. He can't raise the money from investors because the implant only helps some blind people. Potential investors fear there are too few customers to justify their $100 million risk.

So Stephen Lonegan, who has a degenerative eye disease that might be helped by the implant, can't have it. Instead, he will go blind. The bureaucrats say their restrictions are for his own safety. "There's nothing safe about going blind," he says. "I don't want to be made safe by the FDA. I want it to be up to me to go to Dr. Chow to make the decision myself."

But it's not up to Lonegan and his doctor. It's up to the autocrats of the Nanny State. Tomorrow, I will show my confrontation with Terry Toigo of the FDA about that. She calmly and quietly explained that such restrictions are necessary to protect the integrity of the government's safety review process until I shouted: "Why are you even involved? Let people try things!"

She replied, "We don't think that's the best system for patients, to enable people to just take whatever they want with little information available about a drug."

So people suffer and die when they might have lived longer, more comfortable lives.

The FDA's intrusion on our freedom is supplemented by another agent of the Nanny State.

The Drug Enforcement Agency's war on drug dealers has led them to watch pain-management doctors like hawks. Drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin provide wonderful pain relief. But because they are also taken by "recreational" drug users, doctors go to jail for prescribing quantities that the DEA considers "inappropriate." As a result, pain specialists are scared into underprescribing painkillers. Sick people suffer horrible pain needlessly.

Think I exaggerate? Check out the website of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) ( It warns doctors not to go into pain management. "Drug agents now set medical standards. ... There could be years of harassment and legal fees," says the AAPS. Today, even nursing-home patients, hardly candidates for drug gangs, don't get pain relief they need (

The DEA told us that good doctors have nothing to worry about. But Siobhan Reynolds, who started the Pain Relief Network ( after her late husband was unable to get sufficient pain medicine, says the DEA's cherry-picked medical experts persuade juries that they should jail any doctor who administers higher doses of pain relief than the DEA's zealots think appropriate. News of those jail terms spreads. Doctors learn to be stingy with paid meds.

All drugs involve risk. In a free country, it should be up to individuals, once we're adults, to make our own choices about those risks. Patrick Henry didn't say, "Give me absolute safety, or give me death." He said "liberty." That is what America is supposed to be about.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="" <>></a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




13 Comments | Post Comment
I believe you will receive many comments on pain management on both sides of the coin. I am on the side that believes that drugs such as Oxycontin and Methadone should NOT be prescribed for mild to moderate pain that can be treated in other ways. These drugs cause addiction, which causes people to crave more and more of them. That in turn causes people to do things they would not normally do in order to get more and to prevent withdrawals if they don't. Some doctors are just continually giving these medications even when the need is no longer there. But they have created an addict who will keep coming back for more and more medications. The doctors will continue to prescribe them as it is job security for them. The patients are not going to just stop taking them. They can't. That is not how addiction works. I have done much research and have experienced the effects of the detriment to our society caused by a doctor induced addiction as my son awaits a 32 year prison sentence for robbing pharmacies to obtain more of the same drugs he was being legally prescribed. So while, I agree that "all drugs involve a risk and that adults should make their own choices about those risks", becoming an addict because of unnecessary high doses of very addictive medicines, is not a choice.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Laurie
Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:09 AM
I especially enjoyed "Whose Body is it. When my wife was beginning to die of dementia there was a drug approved in Europe, but not in the US that I ordered from Greece. Customs held it up until I asked Jesse Helms to help me. It came in a hurry. It didn't help, nor did it hurt. I have made some surprising pharmaceutical discoveries as described below.
My wife had severe dementia and was bedridden after strokes. She was developing incipient bed sores. I spiked the zinc oxide ointment the caregivers were using with 1% ethylene glycol. When the condition of her bottom improved, I went to a dropper bottle of glycol. A drop of glycol on any skin break cures it overnight. We had no problems over the three yearas until her death.I gave you the punch line first to get your attention, now the story of how I arrived at using ethylene glycol, the principal ingredient of auto antifreeze, to effect this cure of a major problem for bedridden patients.
In the course of stabilizing wood with glycol I noted that glycol prevented fungus growth on wood and mold growth in sugar solutions, and appeared to stop wood rot. This encouraged me to try glycol antifreeze on my 50+ year old case of toenail fungus accompanied by extensive skin blistering, peeling, and even bleeding of the skin between the toes and on my feet. Almost 15 years later the toenail fungus is well under control and I no longer have the least bit of skin problem on my feet.
In the course of writing about preventing wood rot with glycol antifreeze I mentioned its effect on toenail fungus as evidence of its toxicity to rot organisms. Several have written to me of similar experience. A local pedicurist told me my wife had fungus in her nails. I told her I would cure it with antifreeze. Some weeks later she reported that she had several clients using antifreeze on fungus with success.
An e-mail correspondent who read my writing on wood rot wrote that he had had dishydrodic eczema for 7 years that his doctors had been unable to cure. He tried antifreeze and got rid of it. My dermatologist told me it would be illegal to prescribe antifreeze, but that if he had dishydrodic eczema he would try it.
Another correspondent told me his lady friend had a “rot” on her hands that a variety of prescription drugs had not cured. Skeptically, she tried antifreeze and the condition cleared up.
I have had balanophosphitis (similar to diaper rash) on the inner surface of my foreskin and the end of my penis for several years. My urologist recommended circumcision. When I rejected that, he wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic ointment that he made renewable 99 times. Daily from October 18 to October 24, 1999, I treated the two areas with a drop of pure ethylene glycol. The inflammation disappeared. I did no further treatment. My urologist examined me November 29. I told him what I had done. He felt there were residual traces, but it has been controlled with infrequent applications of glycol. Now (2003) all traces have disappeared.
Another correspondent wrote that he sweats a lot because of a thyroid condition and had a sever odor problem (armpits and groin) that his doctor told him was probably a fungal condition. A couple of applications of antifreeze eliminated it.
I have made some attempts to get anyone with the resources to get FDA approval to work on this. I offered it to the medical school of Tufts University with no response. I do not want to sell the stuff or get any money from it; in fact, the FDA would be after me if I tried to sell it.
This is a bit similar to the case of xylitol, which probably prevents ear infections in children. A few months ago The Wall Street Journal reporting on that said:
“Despite the promise of the Finnish studies, there appears to be little effort to make xylitol a regular treatment. It's inexpensive and not patented, so no pharmaceutical company is motivated to develop xylitol products. ‘I don't think you'll find a major drug manufacturer interested in committing a couple hundred thousand dollars to study the benefit of xylitol for ear infections,' says Jerome Klein, professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and one of the country's leading otitis media researchers. Dr. Klein said he wanted to conduct his own studies of xylitol, but his funding request was turned down by the Centers for Disease Control.”
I have used pure ethylene glycol because I had access to some. My correspondents have all used ethylene glycol antifreeze that has a little dye and some corrosion inhibitors in it. A quick Internet search turned up the Science Alliance <> who offer 500ml. (~pint) of laboratory grade EG for about $16 including shipping.
There you are; do as you will with the information.
Posted on 16 Sept 2001.
Just wanted you to know that I added the "antifreeze" to my regimen of attempted treatments for a ringworm infection. Five years ago we got two pups from an acreage and I foolishly decided the best way to bath them was to walk in a shower with them. Anyway, I suspect that is where I picked up the ringworm that struck me a few months later and I have battled it since. Docs started out with lamisil cream, a couple of rounds with lamisil pills, more prescription creams. And the fungus would clear only to break out
worse than before. Anyway, after many more medicines (some supposedly very potent and putting my liver at risk) nothing was working to completely clear it up and keep it away. I tried the glycol alcohol and it worked (believe me, I was a skeptic so this was no psychological to physiologic result)-now, the test will be if it lasts.
TO: Dr. Lovett
From: David W. Carnell June, 2003
Some years ago you diagnosed me as having balanophosphitis. You suggested circumcision. When I crossed my legs and demurred, you wrote a prescription for nystatin and triamcinolone acetonide cream, refillable 99 times.
When the cream was ineffective, I tried ethylene glycol applied with a dropper because I had had good luck with it treating other fungal infections. Before very long, the glycol treatment eliminated the symptons and had to be repeated less and less frequently.
When you saw me last December or January, I had not treated in about a year. There were two red spots that you felt were deep seated so the glycol did not act on them. Recently I noticed that they have also disappeared without any further treatment.
It is unfortunate that this knowledge cannot be utilized, but anyone who got FDA approval would have no exclusivity. Still, warfarin was developed as a rat poison during WW II and got exclusivity as Coumadin® for thinning blood in humans. Glycol also prevented any bedsores from developing during the three years my wife was bedridden before her death. Whenever there was a break in the skin, we applied glycol with a dropper and they healed.
Comment: #2
Posted by: DAVE
Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:55 PM
This message is something that John Stossel might want to discuss on his show tonight--2/24--about the Govt. being in our medicine cabinets.
I have a story about my mother and the government's interference way back in 1964-67.
How can I talk to John about it?
Kareen in Henderson, Nevada.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Kareen Kubovchik
Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:06 PM
Amen to free trade in the health care market. Let's free up all health care providers to be able to practice and stop all the regulations that restrict free trade. No wonder our prices are so high! Let's give people control over their health care dollars instead of having a 3rd party (insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) tell them how to spend their money. It works the same way the rest of the economy works, satisfied customers means you stay in business. You hurt customers you go out of business or get sued...To those of you who think we have a free market system in health care talk to any chiropractor, nutritionist, nurse-midwife, dental hygienist, and many physicians. Just do a google search to see what the dental hygienist in South Carolina had to go through in order to clean children's teeth. P.S. John, you should check out the information at the People's Pharmacy about cholesterol lowering drugs.
Comment: #4
Posted by: taxpayer23
Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:28 PM
Amen to free trade in the health care market. Let's free up all health care providers to be able to practice and stop all the regulations that restrict free trade. No wonder our prices are so high! Let's give people control over their health care dollars instead of having a 3rd party (insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) tell them how to spend their money. It works the same way the rest of the economy works, satisfied customers means you stay in business. You hurt customers you go out of business or get sued...To those of you who think we have a free market system in health care talk to any chiropractor, nutritionist, nurse-midwife, dental hygienist, and many physicians. Just do a google search to see what the dental hygienist in South Carolina had to go through in order to clean children's teeth. P.S. John, you should check out the information at the People's Pharmacy about cholesterol lowering drugs.
Comment: #5
Posted by: taxpayer23
Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:28 PM
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for airing this show. I am a Florida pain management physician in the panhandle area of Florida. I am from the side that believes people are in pain but we as the delivers of healthcare must substantiate the need and then offer the known, time tried, government approved therapies. The public would be screaming bloody murder if we as physicians were diagnosing people with diabetes mellitus or hypertension and then undertreated them so strokes and heart attacks would be occurring on a greater scale in the United States. Well pain and chronic pain syndrome are the same, they are diseases that require therapy. The only difference is that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known as the silent killer and if physicians undertreated hypertension people would just stroke out and die quietly, but with pain when it is undertreated people scream. I never heard someone with a blood sugar of 250, or approximately twice the norm scream. But patients with advanced documented x ray substantiated osteoarthritis of their hips or knees grimace with each step they take, but they take the steps anyway. Then many people say well just get a knee oir hip replacement and the pain will stop. Well it is a FACT in America not everyone can afford the cost of these surgeries and the physical therapy required afterwards. Then there are people who are poor anesthetic risks so they maynot be candidates for surgery. Then there are those who cannot take 3 or 4 or more months off work as they recuperate and go to physical therapy. Remember this is America. We have NO national health insurance. There are insurance companies out there that will not cover the cost of a generic medication without reams of faxes and paperwork and phone calls. You expect them to cover $75,000.00 or so in hospital costs, physicians fees, anesthesia costs, physical therapy cost, home health care and so on. Wake up people!
Unfortunately not many people, or physicians, know and understand the difference between dependency and addiction. All they misunderstand is a patient is on pain medication so they must be an addict. Well they are not. Patients with diabetes mellitus are dependent on their medication. In fact one type of diabetes is known as insulin DEPENDENT diabetes. That does not mean they are an insulin addicts, it means they are dependent on their insulin to keep their blood sugar under control and not make themselves sicker and feel worse. That is EXACTLY the same thing as a patient, young or old, with moderate to advanced osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other maladies that require pain medication so their QUALITY OF LIFE is improved. They are dependent on the medication to allow them to comfortably function in society, that is not addiction as so many people think. Addiction is relatively rare from opioid analgesia prescribed by physicians to be used by their patients. The young lady who put a post up about pain medication making addicts is so poorly informed. That is the same as saying a beer makes a person an alcoholic.
It does not but it may led to that condition when the alcohol is misused. In fact in America today alcoholism is a far greater reaching more life consumming family ruining medical condition than opioid analgesic drug additction.
So I just wanted to let you know I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You may call me if you wish any further input and I will be glad to assist the public in understanding chronic pain and its treatment.
There should be no concern of a caring licensed physician who takes the time to talk to his/her patients and understand their needs, then documents the underlying necessity for that treatment, then makes the effort to receive prior medical records, hospital records, pharmacy records and previous or current diagnostic tests to worry about a DEA agent entering their office. But that also is not a physician with a line out his door or a security patrol in a golf cart in the parking lot or a three minute office visit as was recently documented on CNN. But the proper administration of healthcare delivery to a chronic pain patient takes time, and too many physicians time is money and they are not willing to dedicate the time, nor do many have the time, to make the proper documentation effort. The CNN report was a biased report and was intended to be the modern form of yellow journalism. Nor would that be a medical facility you would want to go to if you really had chronic pain syndrome.

Dr. Sanford M. Epstein
Medical Director
Health and Pain Management of Florida
105 Baybridge Drive
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
Comment: #6
Posted by: sme122146
Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:16 PM
Absolutely right. Adults have the right and responsibility to learn the facts about supplements, treatments, and medicines from whatever sources they choose (reputable sites, doctors, and medical professionals would be recommended). Allow current laws to protect consumers from fraud, abuse, and false advertising and get the rest of the government involvement OUT!
Comment: #7
Posted by: commonsense247
Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:01 PM
Dear Mr. Stossel, I listened intently to your dissertation on O'Reilly wherein you described perfectly the problems with the practice of pain management. I am a certified physician in the state of New Jersey since 1971. I have practiced medicine for 38 years successfully in this state, as an Emergency Room physician for 5 years and in private practice for the last 33 years in Cape May County NJ. I have treated thousands of people with pain management over my career and I am one of the few certified physicians to treat heroin and opiod addiction in the state of NJ, by the DEA. In September 2007 I was arrested by the Cape May County Prosecutor as a result of my steadfast work in pain management. The case in Cape May County has not gone to trial as yet. However my medical board case is now under appeal since my medical license has been suspended since December 2007 and my patients have been stranded. I would like to provide additional details for you, however this format is inappropriate. If you are interested please call me on my cell phone 609-425-5240. John G.Costino D.O. 404 Surf Avenue North Wildwood NJ 08260.
Comment: #8
Posted by: John Costino
Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:42 PM
Re: Laurie ..I do NOT agree with your above statement about pain medication and addiction. Yes, some people taking these meds do become addicted. BUT studies done by the American Pain Association have shown that people with severe chronic pain can actually function quite normally with the proper pain medication. I am one of those who has a chronic pain condition which we tried to treat with every known alternative treatment available. My doctor was ordering norco for a time but we became concerned that the possible side effects to my liver from the tylenol in that drug could be dangerous. so he switched me to a Fentenyl patch and methadone. With self hypnosis, reiki, acupuncture etc, i have been able to reduce my pain meds to 1/4 of what I had started with. I have control over my pain and it is no problem reducing the meds I am on, with no side effects. There is no craving for more of these drugs for most people when they have chronic pain because the medicing goes to the pain and is not euphoric. I am now working with a raw diet and find that the less sugar i have the less pain i have. Its too bad that so many people thing that those in pain should not be treated humanely and would deny them narcotics if needed.
Comment: #9
Posted by: JANE SMO
Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:25 PM

Thank you for your show on the bureaucratic and painstakingly slow approval process at the FDA. The FDA has lost its way and lacks any amount of common sense. The footage you provided was from the Provenge rally at the FDA in Rockville which I attended and spoke.

CareToLive has been advocating for access and approval of Provenge, a treatment for late stage prostate cancer patients, for almost 3 years now. It has taken 10 years and almost a billion dollars for Dendreon, the maker of Provenge; the last 5 mostly being spent trying to navigate the shark infested waters of the FDA, to get Provenge to market. Provenge should be approved in the coming weeks, finally. However it should have been approved in May of 2007. More than 80,000 men had died of prostate cancer since then.

God bless Bruce Towers and the other patient members of CareToLive that have died while being denied access to Provenge.

Comment: #10
Posted by: Kerry Donahue
Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:17 PM
Thank you so much John! When will the government wake up and get their hands out of our wallets and their "healing" hands out of our health care! Instead of investing all of their time trying to give a healthy, uninsured person "free" health care, let those who actually have a debilitating disease have the RIGHT to choose their own treatment!! These uninsured Americans can at least hop into their decked out cars and seek treatment at a clinic or an Emergency Room. Most people who don't have health care coverage CHOOSE not to have it....they would rather drive an Escalade or spend it on clothes. Blind people have no choice. They have to take what the government says. Dr. Chow's brilliant creation, a retinal microchip, IS SITTING IN A BASEMENT, as thousands of people lose their sight and their hope. Dr. Chow has sacrificed A LOT, as the government once again just takes. Everyone who has had this microchip implanted by Dr. Chow, has regained vision. They don't just see shapes and shadows, they see colors and lightness. No other device or chip is this advanced!
So to the FDA.....You just sit there in your nice cozy office...think about how you have the ability to drive home each night from work and have the ability to see your loved ones, and know that while you make the poor decisions that you do everyday...someone in this great country just saw complete darkness for the first time.
Comment: #11
Posted by: JILL
Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:29 PM
The FDA has a double standard about the medical drugs and devices it allows. For example Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) devices, also known as shock treatment, has been allowed throughout the USA even though ECT has never been scientifically tested for its efficacy or proven to benefit even the majority of its patients on a long-term basis. The FDA even lists ECT as a class III device, meaning that it has not been shown to do more good than harm. Please visit and the book "Doctors of Deception" by Linda Andre (Rutgers University Press, 2009) for more information.
So if the FDA insists on keeping life-saving medical breakthroughs off the market then it should at least be consistent! It should either ban all untested drugs and devices or allow them all and let the market and lawsuits decide what stays.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Philip Bennett
Mon Mar 1, 2010 1:37 PM
In terms of who's body who's choice circumcision is a violation of human rights. Which is why foregen is working to regenerate it.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Greg
Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:53 PM
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