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St John's Wort for depression is the poster child; it's in the process of gradually becoming ordinary medicine as more studies are performed, but it's not yet something your doctor would prescribe you.

We err far too much on the side of not approving new treatments (it's like we think harming someone by giving them bad medicine is thousands of times worse than doing the same harm by not giving them good medicine), particularly when there are no patents so no drug company profit motive to push them through trials.

I'm in the pharmacy business, so this is of obvious interest to me.

>"but it's not yet something your doctor would prescribe you."

Because it doesn't require a prescription. There is nearly unlimited information on the product (including efficacy), and I can go into any pharmacy in North America and buy it off the shelf, no questions asked.

>"particularly when there are no patents"

The idea that you can't make money without owning the patent on something flies in the face of everything done in the hacker world, doesn't it? I don't buy into that theory, but can't really back up my opinion. The world is filled with companies who sell commodity products at a mark up, though.

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