Tomorrow's Cures Today? How to Reform the Health Research System

By Donald R. Forsdyke | Go to book overview

Preface

It is in the nature of modern society that for every conceivable human need there are people offering to satisfy it. A new need arises when you suddenly find that a much-loved friend or relative has a fatal illness. Of course, you comfort and support the friend as best you can. But you want to do so much more. Frustrated by your inability to help, now you, yourself, are in need of comfort and support.

Numerous specific disease-related organizations have arisen to satisfy this need. They provide information on the disease, and invariably lament the fact that research on the disease is insufficiently funded. The notion of insufficient funding is one you may be familiar with. Rightly or wrongly, you may feel that many of your personal goals would be achieved more readily if you had more funds. It should not be difficult to convince you that research into your friend's disease would be helped by more funds. By providing, or working to obtain, such funds, you satisfy both your own and your friend's needs.

The basic message of this book is as follows: If you wish merely to assuage your personal frustration, then providing funds for research may suffice. Indeed, for many of us the trials and tribulations of our daily lives leave little free time and energy to attempt more. However, if you really wish to speed progress towards better treatment, and possibly a cure, of the disease which afflicts your friend, then you should pause and think again. There is much to be done, and the ball is not in the court of the researchers, as you may imagine, it is in your court. This is a discomforting message since, if you fail to take action, it places on you some of the responsibility for the laggardly progress in medical research.

Laggardly progress? How can that be when hardly a week goes by when there is not some report of yet another breath-taking medical breakthrough? This book will help you find your way through the hype, driven by the need to oversell research achievements in order to maintain the flow of funds. The book argues that the

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