In countries like the US, the bulk of the cost in time and resources of producing therapies from scientific advances lies in satisfying regulatory bodies - a useless cost, a waste, in other words. Money that could have gone to making a better, safer product is instead squandered on hoop jumping. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is draconian now and becoming worse with each passing year. All the incentives for political appointees and government employees at the FDA are aligned towards blocking new therapies rather than allowing them through. They will not be much blamed for an absence of new approvals - the unseen cost of regulation is not what is, but what might have been - yet will be greatly blamed for any new approval of a therapy that proves even slightly more risky than estimated. So the bar for new therapies is raised and raised, a little at a time.
Stem cell therapies are a good example of a working class of medicine that is essentially forbidden in the US. Stem cell treatments presently illegal to provide in the US have been available elsewhere in the world for some years now, offered by responsible providers who have worked to bring the best they can offer to customers. Regulation of medicine serves no purpose other than to prohibit what might be available; it is control for control's sake. But of course, you'll rarely read about therapies available elsewhere in the world in the US press - or at least not in the context of what is also presently forbidden by the FDA. Here is an example of a general interest article on the progression of stem cell therapies:
If you've just had your first heart attack, doctors may one day be able to reverse the damage done with stem cell therapy. An intravenous method of injecting stem cells into patients who had experienced heart attacks within the previous 10 days suggested that this method works to repair - not just manage - heart damage, a recent study found. The study is a step forward in a field in which a lot of approaches have been tried in animals and preliminary human trials, but none has been approved for widespread clinical use for heart patients.
The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, were part of a phase I study that set out to show safety. The trial has moved on to phase II, which is taking place in 50 hospitals in the United States, said Dr. Joshua Hare, director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "We're looking on the time frame here of five years, in the best-case scenario, to have approved cardiac stem cell therapies," Hare said.
Five years ago, the first tentative therapies of this nature were already taking place in Asia. Theravitae, based in Israel, Canada, and Asia, has treated hundreds with its similar Vescell technology over the past few years. There is no good reason why these technologies are illegal to provide in the US - only prohibition for its own sake. And this is one very small slice of the larger picture; a hundred advanced medical technologies delayed and not developed in the US because of the FDA.
Present circumstances and trends strongly suggest that medicine in far countries will be consistently more advanced than that available in the US in the decades to come. Plan on medical tourism for your future.