AAPS Supports SB 1443, SB 1444, and SB 1445

The Arizona Chapter of AAPS provided the following testimony to the AZ Senate HHS Committee:

Feb 10, 2016

To: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and its Arizona state chapter support SB 1443, SB 1444, and SB 1445.

AAPS was founded in 1943 to preserve and promote the practice of private medicine and the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. It is a national organization representing thousands of physicians in all specialties, including hundreds in Arizona, and the thousands of patients they serve.

The ethical standard of AAPS is the Oath of Hippocrates, which states: “I will prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.”

The best regimen for an individual patient may not be found in the drop-down menu of “expert guidelines.” Innovative treatments may take years or decades to become accepted, and “standard-of-care” treatments may be prescribed long after they should have been discarded. The mutilating Halstead radical mastectomy of my medical school days comes to mind.

Resistance to change is a human characteristic—especially if enormous profits are being made by continuing the current regime. If we are to see breakthroughs in medical treatment, we must encourage pioneers, not suppress them or even drive them out of the profession by turning “guidelines” into rigid mandates. An “evidence base” can never develop for a treatment that cannot be tried. A large number of beneficial, widely used treatments would have to be outlawed if we applied the same standard to them as to new or off-label uses of, for example, hyperbaric oxygenation for neurological conditions, long-term antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease, or adult stem cells. Patients and their physicians need freedom to pursue options that in their judgment are best for the individual patient. For every possible medical intervention there is “potential harm” in using it—or in withholding it.

If regulatory boards are to serve the interests of the public, their actions must be transparent, they need to follow fair rules that assure due process, and members need to be held accountable.

Respectfully submitted,

Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director, AAPS

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