While we have a healthy skepticism toward the pharmaceutical industry, former Obama adviser Ezekiel Emanuel’s attack in the New York Times on Big Pharma for not selling cancer drugs because they can’t make any money is long on accusation but short on facts:
The sad fact is, there are plenty of newer brand-name cancer drugs that do not cure anyone, but just extend life for a few months, at costs of up to $90,000 per patient. Only the older but curative cancer drugs — drugs that can cost as little as $3 per dose — have become unavailable. Most of these drugs have no substitutes, but, crazy as it seems, in some cases these shortages are forcing doctors to use brand-name drugs at more than 100 times the cost.
We sure would like to know what “curative” drugs he’s got in mind. We aren’t aware of any drugs that “cure” cancer. And if Big Pharma has stopped selling cheap drugs that don’t work, well, what’s the problem? They don’t work.