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Let My Patients Go

by Kevin D. Williamson

The Cure in the Code: How 20th-Century Law Is Undermining 21st-Century Medicine, by Peter W. Huber (Basic, 304 pp., $28.99)

As statements of qualified praise go, “writes well for a lawyer” is a cousin of “doesn’t sweat much for a fat chick” — it does not rise even to the level of a vacant superlative such as WFB’s “tallest building in Wichita, Kansas.” Better to say that Peter W. Huber writes well — exceedingly well — and is a lawyer. He is much more than that: a former MIT professor, a contributor to publications as diverse as National Review and Wired, a Manhattan Institute fellow, and one of the few men walking the Earth who could write a book about FDA reform that is not only profitable but pleasurable to read.

The book is exciting, in that it suggests possibilities for significant improvements in our ability to treat terrifying diseases in the near future; but it is also depressing, because its sophisticated analysis — in flying so far above the regulation–deregulation and government–market binaries that dominate so many of our policy debates — cannot help but draw one’s attention to the intellectual poverty of Washington’s practically pre-Copernican approach to important policy decisions.

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