An Anarchist Is Teaching Patients To Make Their Own Medications


Publish Date:
October 13, 2017
  • Piller, Charles
Scientific American
Related Person(s):
Related Organization(s):


The anarchist grew animated as he explained his plan to subvert a pillar of global capitalism by teaching the poor to make their own medicines — pharmaceutical industry patents be damned.

Then he took another sip from a flute of Taittinger Champagne.

Swaggering, charismatic, and complex, Michael Laufer has become a fixture in the growing biohacker movement ever since he published plans last year for a do-it-yourself EpiPencil — a $35 alternative to the pricey EpiPen.

Hank Greely, who directs the Center for Law and Biosciences at Stanford University, said he doesn’t object to “self-experimentation” by patients who want to try Laufer’s recipes.

“I’m relatively willing to let competent adults do stupid and reckless things if they don’t hurt anyone else,” Greely said. But if someone follows Laufer’s directions and dies “from a mistake he makes, or a mistake one could predict his users might make,” it creates a “moral liability,” even without a legal one, Greely said.

Read More