Perry Fed Up and Willing To Put Money Where His Mouth Is

If you want to learn about Rick Perry, then read his 2010 book FED UP ! — Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

His views are straightforward … for example, on healthcare check out page six :

We are fed up with a federal government arrogant enough to declare it knows more about our health than our doctor …

and on page 78

No issue is more critical for the defense of freedom and the American way of life than the preservation of our free-market healthcare system and the total repeal and dismantling of so-called Obamacare.

and on page 79

This is not hyperbole, for our ability as Americans to have access to the best health care in the world — and our right to make our own personal health care decisions — literally hangs in the balance ….

OK … Rick Perry wants his own doctor and NOBODY better question his doctor.

But what if his doctor is wrong ???
Or gives poor advice ????
Or advocates treatments that are a “little past the edge of what mainstream medicine would generally accept” ???
Or not a FDA approved therapy ???

Of course, the follow up question would be : Should government have any involvement in regulating or encouraging new medical innovations ???

Well, it appears that Rick Perry is willing to put his money where his mouth is … and also spend Texas taxpayer dollars.

The Texas Tribune reported that on July 1, Rick Perry had “undergone an experimental injection of his own stem cells, a therapy that isn’t FDA approved, has mixed evidence of success and can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.”

Highlights from the Texas Tribune article :

In the weeks since the procedure, the governor has traded his cowboy boots for orthopedic shoes and donned a back brace, raising questions that his recovery may be slow-going.

Researchers say that despite the great potential adult stem cells may have, so far they’ve seen nothing more definitive than the so-called “placebo effect” — patients who convince themselves they’re feeling better simply by nature of having had the procedure. In some lab tests, stem cells that have been effectively deprogrammed to help regenerate a particular organ have appeared to turn cancerous. In others, patients have traveled around the world, spending $10,000 to $50,000 for stem cells that simply die off, with no effect on health.

The state health plan does not cover experimental treatments like such stem cell therapy and that whatever state health insurance didn’t pay for, “Perry did.”

Most of this stuff is pretty experimental at this point,” said Heather Rooke, the science director for the International Society for Stem Cell Research. “People are pushing these things into the clinic before there’s real evidence of safety or an indication that they’ll work.”

Rick Perry’s involvement in experimental stem cell therapy has prompted the LA Times and Associated Press to contact other medical professionals for comments.

Worries about quackery are widespread among stem cell researchers. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times earlier this year, stem cell researcher Dr. Christine Mummery of the Leiden University Medical Center, in Leiden, Netherlands, said that she gets “desperate questions” from patients, some of whom consider spending tens of thousands of dollars for unproven therapies. The best case scenario is that “nothing happens,” she said. The worst case is that the patients die from their treatments. “The hype is so huge, everyone’s looking at it as a solution for everything,” she added.

Perry “exercised poor judgment” to try it, said Dr. George Q. Daley, of Children’s Hospital Boston and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “As a highly influential person of power, Perry’s actions have the unfortunate potential to push desperate patients into the clinics of quacks,” who are selling unproven treatments “for everything from Alzheimer’s to autism.” Daley is past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, a group of 3,000 scientists and others in the field. He consults for several biotech companies and favors stem cell research. But of Perry’s treatment he said: “I would never in a million years accept for one of my family members to undergo this.”

Dr. Thomas Einhorn, orthopedics chairman at Boston University, has tested some experimental stem cell therapies himself. He said one concern is that Perry’s cells were grown in a lab dish with other ingredients where there is more of a risk they will transform into cancer and any breach in sterility could lead to an infection once they were put into a vein. He also took issue with infusing the cells into Perry’s bloodstream. “I can’t think of any reason to do that. I wouldn’t want to cause a blood clot.”

Dr. George Muschler, an orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, said fat-derived stem cells are “an unusual choice” because they don’t form bone as readily as those from marrow. Using them as was done for Perry is “quite experimental and it’s quite controversial because there isn’t good evidence yet, at least in the medical literature, that fat cells work better or even work at all in repairing bones,” Muschler said. “It’s out there, a little past the edge of what mainstream medicine would generally accept.”

OK … Rick Perry has faith in his doctor … but does that faith also apply to advancing the doctor’s agenda with state dollars ?

Once again from the Texas Tribune :

Three weeks after his adult stem cell treatment, Perry wrote a letter to the Texas Medical Board, which is considering new rules regarding adult stem cells, saying that he hoped Texas would “become the world’s leader in the research and use of adult stem cells.” He asked board members to “recognize the revolutionary potential that adult stem cell research and therapies have on our nation’s health, quality of life and economy.”
During the governor’s 2009 State of the State address, he called on state leaders to invest in adult stem cell companies. Later that year, his Emerging Technology Fund awarded a $5 million grant to the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Regenerative Medicine and $2.5 million to Helotes-based America Stem Cell to develop new adult stem cell technology.

Gosh, Rick Perry has only been a candidate for less than ten days and I am already FED UP with politicians that tells us what to think while helping to make their doctor friends rich.
Will Governor Perry release his financial records showing how much he paid for this experimental therapy and will his doctor release procedure costs, so that the taxpayers of Texas know that there was not some quid pro quo using the Office of the Governor to encourage taxpayer investment in the medical industry.

Yep, I am FED UP with politicians that evoke self-interest over civic good … Healthcare will be the defining issue for the 2012 campaign … and Rick Perry does not have a plan.

Tags: ,