Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bad Medicine

I don’t know if this story is true (or the whole story is being told) because I’m unfamiliar with the news organization. However, the story is making the rounds on the blogs and if it is true, it is, as Digby puts it, really fucked up.
Danielle Godard - All Headline News Staff Writer

Edmonton, AB (AHN) - It is expected there would be no problems securing funding to explore a drug that could shrink cancerous tumors and has no side-effects in humans, but University of Alberta researcher Evangelos Michelakis has hit a stalemate with the private sector who would normally fund such a venture.

Michelakis' drug is none other than dichloroacetate (DCA), a drug which cannot be patented and costs pennies to make.

It's no wonder he can't secure the $400-600 million needed to conduct human trials with the medicine - the drug doesn't have the potential to make enough money.

Michelakis told reporters they will be applying to public agencies for funding, as pharmaceuticals are reluctant to pick up the drug.

At roughly $2 a dose, there isn't much chance to make a billion on the cancer treatment over the long term.
I’m always skeptical about alleged miraculous cures that for whatever reason are being ignored because the inventor is being persecuted or whatever. But even if this isn’t the whole story (and it may well be for all I know) it’s certainly true that Big Parma is primarily seeking profits not cures. Sorry, it’s what business do. If the drug makers can’t make money, there is no incentive for them to pursue it. I’ve heard this is why there have not been any new malaria drugs marketed in decades, because only poor people need it and they can’t pay. The same goes for drugs that might treat rare diseases; there just wouldn’t be enough people buying them.

Either way, file this under the heading Healthcare Reform Needed.

Of course, things like this don't help either:
Bush’s 2007 budget proposed cutting funding for the National Cancer Institute by $40 million.

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