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I love being a medical guinea pig, don't you?

I love being a medical guinea pig, don't you?

I’m proud that the health industry I work for does not use me (or anyone else for that matter) as a guinea pig. I’m proud that the supplements I take have research behind them and extensive safety testing and I’m proud that I get to write about those companies.

Conversely I’m horrified and, in the words of H. Gilbert Welch, “justifiably furious," that the American medical community does in fact use me and millions of Americans as guinea pigs.

As Welch, professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, points out in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, our bodies have been used and our money wasted by conventional medical practice. From hormone replacement therapy and mammograms, to P.S.A. screening for prostate cancer and Accutane, the American public has unwittingly acted as one huge uncontrolled clinical trial for many procedures and “therapies” that have later been proven by real clinical trials to be unhelpful or even harmful.

“Medical research is dominated by research on the new: new tests, new treatments, new disorders and new fads. But above all, it’s about new markets. We don’t need to find more things to spend money on; we need to figure out what’s being done now that is not working. That’s why we have to start directing more money toward evaluating standard practices—all the tests and treatments that doctors are already providing.”

Amen, Dr. Welch. And thanks for reminding me that I work for an industry with the self-regulation and commitment to doing research before, during, and after I put any of their products in or on my body, knowing that these products promote my health and well being.

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