Is Social Media the new standard for medical treatment?

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/health/josh-hardy-drug-study/   

So a boy from a school fairly near my home has been featured in a social media campaign. He is severely ill, and his doctors said an experimental drug might work in a different form – they already gave it to him in IV form, but recommended it orally.

The drug company said they weren’t able to provide the drug. It hasn’t been tested on patients like Josh, has limited studies, and they cannot afford to give the drug out to every patient seeking a miracle.

After a few days of social media campaigns, which were picked up by news outlets, and involved petitions in my town…..the company is giving the kid the drug.

I’m all in favor of saving lives, but at what cost?

Why this one person? Why did a company go against its policy – just because of social media?  There are rules, regulations, and restrictions in place on experimental medical treatment for a reason. I believe companies getting federal grants and other funding are required to follow specific rules as well. These give companies a fair, objective way to study the drugs, analyze their effectiveness, and evaluate the risks, successes, failures, and applications for the drugs.

When you give the drug to a patient who doesn’t meet your criteria for testing, past, present or future, you effectively say you don’t have any standards.  Not to mention the fallout if the kid dies anyway – “Well, they gave him an experimental drug! It’s their fault!”…then the company loses funding, and a drug that could save millions of lives fades away.

I’m not sure I can put this into words well. I’m quite frightened at the prospect that social media may now be a determining factor in someone’s medical treatment. What about the patients who had previously been denied that drug? There’s no “fairness” for them. 

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