The diversity of human reactions to drugs makes it impossible to lay down hard-and-fast "scientific" rules governing use of medications, Gustav J. Martin, ScD, told a symposium on The Right to Use New Medicines in New York, April 15-16.
Martin told the meeting, sponsored by the Carl Neuberg Society for International Scientific Relations, that medicine is an art, rather than a science.
"In the absence of a science of medicine," he said, the need is for "a philosophy of medicine... a scientific humanism.... Such a philosophy will evolve from the present considerations of 'risks to benefits' correlation."
Martin, research director for William H. Rorer, Inc., pointed out that all drugs have an incidence of side effects, and none has a 100% record of therapeutic value, presenting enormous problems to the medical profession.
He said the problem is, "should a drug responsible for saving 150,000 lives per year and simultaneously responsible