From The Cancer Chronicles #23
© Sept. 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

On July 22 [1994], Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) held hearings on The Access to Medical Treatment Act, S 2140, which had been introduced by his colleague, Tom Daschle (D-SD). In addition to Harkin, Sen. Pell, Grassley, DeConcini, Hatch, and Simon also attended the hearing. Most of those are cosponsors of the historic legislation.

This bill, Harkin told a packed hearing room, is "fairly straightforward. It would allow an individual to be treated by any licensed health care practitioner with any method of medical treatment the individual desires so long as there is no evidence that the treatment is a danger to the patient. The provider must inform the patient if the therapy has not been approved by the FDA and give them a full and accurate reporting of past treatment results."

Sen. Daschle emerged as a passionate spokesperson for medical choice. (It is auspicious that he is considered a front runner for the job of Majority Leader.) He introduced S 2140, he told the audience, so that patients "should have the option of trying alternative treatments." He confessed himself a "big believer" in the proposition that "We have to move with the times and make these services available to consumers."

Over and over, legislators paid tribute to their former colleague Berkley Bedell, catalyst for this legislation. After Berkley¹s testimony, for example, Daschle said, "I miss that Bedell passion for truth" in Washington. He also said, "We may not pass the bill this year, but it will pass. Sooner or later it will happen." Harkin countered that he hoped to attach it to any health reform bill.

Speaking for the bill were patients¹ representatives such as Michaela Odone (of "Lorenzo's Oil" fame) and Vernon Morin, father of one of Dr. Emanuel Revici¹s patients. Jurgen Schurholz, MD of Germany also testiÞed very effectively about the success of such legislation in Germany since 1978. Quackery did not run rampant after passage of freedom of choice legislation there. Speaking against the bill were Mary K. Pendergast of the FDA, and three of her colleagues, who were closely questioned by the Congressmen.

Surprising to some, spokespersons for Consumers Union and one New York AIDS research group (CRIA) also registered their opposition to any bill that, in their view, would weaken the power of the FDA.

articles on freedom of choice

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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