Faced with the choice of paying exponentially more or waiting, seniors living on a fixed income might make health care decisions based on their immediate financial needs rather than what’s best for their long-term health, in this case forgoing treatment with Lucentis (likely available immediately) until Avastin can be obtained. This delay — which could exist solely because the Drug Quality and Security Act fails to prevent it — might lower seniors’ ability to preserve their vision.
All of this is avoided by treating all compounded drugs equally. So, before the Senate is tempted to act on impulse and pass the House version of the legislation, it might well recall Wonka’s warning to young Violet Beauregarde as she started chewing a piece of gum that ended up having the unanticipated “side effect” of turning her into a giant blueberry:
“Oh! I wouldn’t do that. I really wouldn’t.”
Dr. Craig H. Kliger is executive vice president of the California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.