In the future, our laws and the FDA are going to have to reform to adjust to a new realty. In brief, there no bad chemicals or bad drugs, only bad uses. Medicine has been so extraordinarily good at providing near miraculous cures, that we have come to have a "magic pill" mindset. This drug magically cures this disease and is "safe". The reality of medicine is a series of tradeoffs, typically the tradeoffs are greatly to our advantage, but not always. Further, it has long been known that a drug that works for one person doesn't work for someone else. There is no doubt that targeted medicine, what I consider a subset of open source medicine, is the next critical system break through. For example, this is why it is so intriguing to be putting IBM Watson on the task of medicine, Watson will be able to analysis your personal health makeup and suggest a drug appropriate for you, along with recommended possible side effect markers to watch and even possibly test for! How do you go about regulating medicine is such an environment, in the future it will no longer make sense for the FDA to "approve" or "disapprove" a drug. Rather the most sensible course will be to monitor an accurate database of effects and make sure all the participants are following correct recording procedures, along with assuring purity of products.
If you follow through this logic, you will quickly realize it calls into question the current system of patents. Where an entity has a financial interest is promoting a particular drug, it also has an interest in suppressing negative information and promoting positive. Under such circumstances it isn’t strongly in anyone personal interest, other than an illegal cartel, to promote inappropriate uses of a particular drug. Obviously some system of financial rewards/incentives need to be applied, and of course no can work for free. But just as the open source software movement hasn’t killed off software companies, nor will making a space for open source medicine kill of drug companies. Indeed the free flow of ideas has only enhanced technological progress.
I hope I have convinced some of you to embrace a move to open source medicine.