A comprehensive history of the concept of freedom of therapeutic choice in the United States, presents a compelling look at how persistent but evolving notions of a right to therapeutic choice have affected American policy and law from the Revolution through the Trump Era.
Throughout American history, the medical establishment has successfully backed laws limiting the range of treatments available to patients. The country's history is also, however, brimming with social movements that have condemned such restrictions as violations of fundamental American liberties. This fierce conflict is one of the defining features of the social history of medicine in the United States.
In Choose Your Medicine, Lewis A. Grossman presents a compelling look at how persistent but evolving notions of a right to therapeutic choice have affected American health policy, law, and regulation from the Revolution through the Trump Era. Grossman grounds his analysis in historical examples ranging from unschooled supporters of botanical medicine in the early nineteenth century to sophisticated cancer patient advocacy groups in the twenty-first. He vividly describes how activists
and lawyers have resisted a wide variety of legal constraints on therapeutic choice, including medical licensing statutes, FDA limitations on unapproved drugs and alternative remedies, abortion restrictions, and prohibitions against medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide. Grossman also considers the
relationship between these campaigns for desired treatments and widespread opposition to state-compelled health measures such as vaccines and face masks.
From the streets of San Francisco to the US Supreme Court, Choose Your Medicine examines an underexplored theme of American history, politics, and law that is more relevant today than ever.
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Lewis A. Grossman is Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of History at American University, where he has taught since 1997. He has also been a Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) Fellow at Princeton University and a Visiting Professor at Cornell Law School. Prior to joining the American University faculty, he was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP, and before that he clerked for Chief Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
D.C. Circuit. Professor Grossman's scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of Law and Medicine, Cornell Law Review, Law and History Review, Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics, and Administrative Law Review, among others. He is the co-author of Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials, the leading text in the
1. Storming the Bastille of Orthodoxy: The Origins of American Health Libertarianism
2. "The Blood-Bought Freedom of Our Venerable Sires": The Antebellum Battle for Medical Freedom
3. Orthodoxy and "The Other Man's Doxy": Medical Licensing and Medical Freedom in the Gilded Age
4. Reining in Progressive "State Medicine"
5. Conspiracy Theorists and Con Men: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in the "Golden Age" of Medicine
6. The Spirit of the '70s: Vitamins, Yogurt, and Apricot Pits
7. AIDS Activists, FDA Regulation, and the Amendment of America's Drug Constitution
8. Modern Resistance to Orthodox Medical Domination
9. Life, Liberty, [and the Pursuit of Happiness]: The Long Struggle for Legalization of Medical Marijuana
10. The Right to be Covered: Therapeutic Choice and Health Insurance
11. The End: Freedom to Choose and the Right to Die
From George Washington's Deathbed in 1799 to the D.C. Circuit's Courtroom in 2007 hearing argument in the landmark case of Abigail Alliance, Grossman's book takes readers on a thrilling historical ride to understand what 'therapeutic choice' has meant for this country and what the sometimes unstable marriage between medicine and law has wrought. * I. Glenn Cohen, Deputy Dean and James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics * Grossman's work displays his mastery not only of the law, but also of everything else that makes medicine and health enduringly fascinating aspects of human history. Life, death, fear, love, pride, greed, envy, and ambition spring repeatedly from its pages. If you only read one book to understand the social cleavages that make it hard for Americans and their political leaders to 'follow the science' and end the pandemic, it should be this one. * William M. Sage, Professor of Law and Medicine, The University of Texas at Austin * What have 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' meant for medicine? Lewis Grossman provides a provocative answer, showing how Americans across the political spectrum used the law to fight-often against their physicians-for therapeutic choice. The legalization of medical marijuana and compassionate use of experimental cancer drugs are, in his view, just the most recent examples of a 200-year-old tradition of medical rights-making in the US, often
linked to expressions of religious freedom. A fascinating diagnosis of the American wariness of the state and medical science. * Angela N. H. Creager, Thomas M. Siebel Professor in the History of Science, Princeton University * Meticulously researched, engagingly written, and deeply relevant, Lewis Grossman begins with the question of therapeutic freedom in the early 21st century and traces a vital thread connecting two centuries of legal studies, consumer history, and American politics. Choose Your Medicine provides a thorough and trenchant meditation on what is gained-and what has been lost-in foregrounding individual choice in the forging of US health policy and law. * Jeremy Greene, William H. Welch Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins *
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