L.A. laser surgeon Jules Mark Lusman had his medical license revoked and may face some jail time, according to a Los Angeles Times article today, all for overprescribing prescription narcotics to such direly needy Hollywood figures as Courtney Love and Winona Ryder. In a bit of wry medical wit, the spokeswomen for the Medical Board of California says that in order to get his license back, to quote the Times article, "Lusman would have to prove to the state that his problem is 'cured.'"
Lusman didn't have a "problem"—his patients had desires, and a system of guild-building and paternalistic laws placed him in a unique position to satisfy those desires. What started as an advantage for Lusman—his role in the medical monopoly that stands between people and desired substances—only became a problem with the state board's intervention. I only hope more doctors start to balance the financial advantages they get from prescription drug laws with the legal dangers they present. The real problem that needs curing here are absurd and onerous prescription drug laws that thrust unnecessary expenses and legal danger between citizens and the medicines they want.