The co-founder of Cell Surgical Network, the largest group of independent stem cell clinics in the country, called the FDA's court action “ridiculous.” Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Mark Berman said the treatments the network's 100 clinics provide should not count as drugs that require FDA regulation because they consist of stem cells derived from fat suctioned out of patients' own bodies.

“They would have to go out of the way to claim your own personal cells that are taken out of your own body are drugs,” said Berman, who said his company has retained several Washington-area lawyers and would fight the injunction case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Washington Post

What does "have to" mean here? I know "have to" usually means "must", showing obligations, but it is also "used to say that you are sure that something will happen or something is true"Longman

In the above sentence, does "have to" mean an assumption?
But if so, it seems like the meaning of "would" and "have to" is repeated twice.

  • I see you've used the auxiliary-verbs tag. Have in this sense is not an auxiliary for most speakers, so for example most people would say "Do I have to go?" rather than "Have I to go?" It's most likely to be used as an auxiliary in the speech of some older BrE speakers.
    – user230
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


Alone, "have to" would imply an obligation, and were the sentence simply:

"They have to go out of their way..."

This would suggest that they are doing this.

"Would" is used to refer to a future possibility, so this expression "would have to" is stating what would be necessary for the FDA to prove what they wanted to.

In fact in this context it is more specifically showing how hard it would be to prove something. The expression "go out of the way" (actually I think it ought to be "go out of their way") means go beyond what you would normally do, so altogether the gist of this statement seems to be that it would be very difficult for the FDA to prove their drug claims in court and that it may even be unlikely they would do so given that it is "out of their way".

  • Thanks. So does Berman say if the FDA want to claim people’s own personal cells are drug, it will take a lot of efforts? Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 10:33
  • @MangoGummy Yes, that is how I understand it. I have added a bit more detail to the answer including an explanation of the expression "Out of the[ir] way".
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 10:35
  • Thank you. Can I think “have to” means “need” in this sentence? Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 23:32

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