April 12, 2018
We trust doctors to treat our illnesses and help save our lives. But government harms their ability to do their jobs by restricting freedom of speech.
In a new series of videos, Dr. Rafael Fonseca, visiting fellow at the Goldwater Institute, explains what freedom of speech in medicine is all about, how the federal government restricts communications about the safe and legal off-label usage of medication, and how those restrictions can be harmful to patients.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for approving medications. But often a medicine approved for one purpose is also effective for treating other ailments. That’s called an “off-label” use, and it’s perfectly legal for doctors to prescribe medicines this way. Medicare will even pay for it. But the FDA forbids drug manufacturers from sharing truthful information about those off-label uses with doctors. And when physicians aren’t fully informed about the range of available treatments, patients suffer.
The Goldwater Institute aims to put patients first through its Free Speech in Medicine Act, which protects the right to convey this truthful information about legal medicines. In 2017, Arizona became the first state to adopt our model legislation, thus ensuring that doctors can be fully informed about the latest treatments.