Amber Zone - Interdicted Medicine Nuggets

Last Updated 4 December 2003.

1999 #1415

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 12:11:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Glenn Goffin
Subject: Re: Low TL Medicines

>From: Black ICE
>Subject: Low TL Medicines (was: Re: Rule of man coin)
>Bringing this back to Traveller:
>At least here on Terra, advances in medicines have
>often been aimed at reducing the side-effects of
>otherwise-effective drugs.

That's only sometimes true, and only in very recent times. The history of drugs -- and medicine in general -- is by no means a simple, linear advance.

>Thus, paregoric (which was often prescribed to
>relieve diarrhea, as opiates tend to cause
>constipation) was replaced by compounds which also
>relieved diarrhea, without the narcotic side-effects
>of paregoric.

Of course, before paregoric, one treated diarrhea with large amounts of water (to replace fluids lost) and, if I recall correctly, ginger and chamomille, which are stomach tonics. Water, ginger, and chamomille have no side effects at all, and they don't stop the diarrhea very quickly.

>Similarly, there has been a trend in antihistamines
>toward compounds that are less likely to cause

Of course, you won't get drowsy at all if you don't take anti-histamines. Acupuncture, vitamin C, and water all help clear the sinuses with no side effects.

>Presumably, as a general rule, as TL increases, drug
>side-effects decrease.

It can go either way, actually. It depends on the drug culture more than anything else. As TL increases, it's possible to isolate more and more specifically what extrinsic chemical is affecting what part or system of the body. Isolated effects can cause severe side effects in other systems. On the other hand, as understanding of the body's systems improves, it's likely that treatment will focus on helping the whole person be healthy, not just getting rid of a particular symptom.

>The question then become:
>To what extent (if any) does the Imperium regulate
>the interstellar transport of medicinal compounds
>between worlds, if said compounds are legal on the
>world of origin?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Imperium does not regulate drug traffic, except to the extent that drugs become a threat to the security of the realm. If opium is legal on Efate and illegal on Pyasadi, Efate and Pysadi have some tension to work out between themselves, but it's not the Imperium's problem.

>If there is no formal Imperial regulation of such
>compounds, does the Imperium at least attempt to help
>worlds maintain their own regulations on importation
>of medicinal compounds?

Nope. That's why you have the Imperial Rules of War. If Pysadi hires the PCs to take out the drug barons of Efate, that's not a matter of Imperial law nor a subject for Imperial intervention.

>In other words, are PCs who purchase laudanum on a
>TL-4 world subject to Imperial sanctions if they sell
>said laudanum on a TL-13 world that strictly
>regulates opiates?

Nope; see supra.

How about this situation?

A plant grows in a certain rich soil on a certain world. When cooked properly, the plant makes a tea that is very effective in treating a certain serious disease. SuSAG, LIC, makes a drug utilizing different chemicals that is also effective in treating that disease. SuSAG's drug is far more expensive than the plant, but it can be manufactured anywhere. SuSAG's drug may or may not have severe side effects.


  1. SuSAG has been able to get the world where the plant is grown interdicted. The PC are hired by a rival company to bring back seeds and soil samples, so that the company can compete with SuSAG in this market.

  2. An epidemic of that disease has begun, and SuSAG is unable to manufacture the drug fast enough. Can the PCs harvest enough of the plant to help?

  3. SuSAG started the epidemic.

  4. The interdicted world where the plant grows regularly gets its stuff off-world and onto the drug market, which drives SuSAG crazy. SuSAG hires the PCs to wipe out that world's agricultural sector.

- --Glenn

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