A Texas jury hit Dr. Maurice Conte,72, with a $10.1 million verdict this past week. Michael Skorpenske, 54, saw Dr. Conte one time only on July 5, 2007 and died two days later after his encounter with The Holy Trinity. Dr. Conte had introduced his patients to The Holy Trinity 3,800 times in just one year.
Texas juries have no actual malice towards Christians. It’s just that Dr. Conte allegedly worked at a “pill mill” and referred to the combination of Vicodin®, Xanax® and Soma® as The Holy Trinity. On July 11, 2007, the Texas Medical Board peremptorily suspended Dr. Conte’s license — a day late and a dollar short as far as Mr. Skorpenske was concerned. Apparently, everyone who walked in the door and paid the doctor’s fee received a prescription for The Holy Trinity. Unfortunately, an occasional person stops breathing after taking this combination.
I guess most people will read this story and conclude that something should be done about these pill mills. And, that “something” should be a crackdown by the police. Fair enough, but I don’t see it that way.
To me, this story illustrates a failure of government at every level; the solution should be to get rid of some of the government, not have more of the failed institution.
This nation has never recovered from the Progressive Era, but two items in particular bear on this story: The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Flexner Report (1910.) Before 1906, any company, or any person working in his basement for that matter, could manufacture and sell any drug to anyone in a completely unregulated market: Anyone could walk into a pharmacy and buy narcotics. Prior to 1910, more than 200 medical schools existed, mostly of the for-profit variety. Soon after, about 100 of them went out of business.
There were plenty of problems in the nineteenth century related to narcotic addiction and unschooled doctors, to be sure. But, the typical Penn Medical School graduate back then didn’t know much about medicine anyway — no one did — and the history of the Flexner Report was nothing other than an AMA-Carnegie Institute conspiracy to license and regulate non-allopathic physicians out of business in order to drive up the income of the allopaths. And, I just cannot imagine that drug violence was anything then like it is today.
I don’t know what this country would look like without drug laws and state licensure of doctors, but I am convinced that the quality of medical care would be higher, the cost of it would be lower and the amount of violent crime would be much less.
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