Cancer is a money making industry

The treatment of disease is not a science…but a thriving industry.

~ Sir James Barr, Vice President, British Medical Association.

Physicians are called to service, to put patients’ good above our own. That’s a very spiritual calling. But with … making medicine a business, we’re … losing that sense of purpose and meaning.

~ Christina Puchalski, professor of medicine, George Washington University.Reader’s Digest Sept. 2001.

People go where the money is, and you’d like to believe it’s different in medicine, but it’s really no different in medicine. When you start thinking of oncology as a business, then all these decisions make sense.

~ Dr. Robert Geller, oncologist. New York Times, 12 June 2007 by Alex Beresen.

Cancer is big business

The global market for cancer drugs has hit $100 billion in annual sales, and could reach $147 billion by 2018, according to a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a unit of drug data provider IMS Health.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2015/05/05/cancer-drug-sales-approach-100-billion-and-could-increase-50-by-2018/#57e565232dc6

 The 100 billion cancer drugs — more drugs are coming!

Spending on cancer medicines totaled $107 billion worldwide in 2015 and is projected to exceed $150 billion by 2020, reflecting adoption of newer, pricier therapies, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

The projected growth in cancer drug spending through 2020 also reflects a large number of potential new drugs yet to be introduced; IMS says the pipeline of cancer drugs in clinical development has expanded by 63 percent in the last decade.

There are currently 586 experimental cancer drugs in the mid-stages of clinical trials or later, by 511 companies.

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/02/the-worlds-2015-cancer-drug-bill-107-billion-dollars.html

The Cancer Industry is too prosperous to allow a cure

The cancer industry is probably the most prosperous business in the United States.

$6 billion of tax-payer funds are cycled through various federal agencies for cancer research, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The NCI states that the medical costs of cancer care are $125 billion, with a projected 39 percent increase to $173 billion by 2020.

The simple fact is that the cancer industry employs too many people and produces too much income to allow a cure to be found.

The pharmaceutical industry has a powerful hold on the entire medical system in the United States, and they are not about to let alternative cancer therapies be established.

http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/the-cancer-industry-is-too-prosperous-to-allow-a-cure/

Treat not cure — that’s how to make money!

Rather than coming up with actions to keep cancer from occurring, we are spending more money than ever to find and treat cancer. But when it comes to ferreting out the root causes of the disease, we have limped along ineffectively.

~ Dr. Devra Davis, Director of the Centre of Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Do we really want a cure for cancer?

Conflicts of interest … lie at the heart of modern medical science. A cure for cancer would perhaps be less welcome than one might think. The criterion used for investigating cancer treatments is the potential for financial profit. If a therapy provides the possibility of a cure without profit, it will not be investigated, and above it, it might even be actively suppressed.

~ Hilary Roberts, Department of Child Health, University of Manchester and Steve Hickey of Manchester Metropolitan University  in: Cancer – nutrition and survival

Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?

Is curing patients a sustainable business model? The potential to deliver ‘one shot cures’ is one of the most attractive …  this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for … medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow. Cures could be bad for business in the long run.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/goldman-asks-is-curing-patients-a-sustainable-business-model.html

 

 

Making a killing with cancer: A 124.6 billion dollar industry

If you had a business selling something that made you well over a hundred billion dollars per year, would you take steps to eradicate the need for your business? Or would you make every effort for that money continue rolling in?

Take cancer, for example.  Don’t let all the media hype about “The Cure” fool you.  No one who is in a position to do so wants to end cancer because they are all making a killing on the big business of treatment, while ordinary people go broke, suffer horribly, and die.

There will never be a “cure” brought to market because there just isn’t enough profit in eradicating the disease entirely.  There will never be a governing body that protects consumers from being subjected to known carcinogens, because that too, will stop the cash from rolling in. A great deal of research is covered up and many potential cures are ignored and discredited because there is far more money in perpetuating illness than in curing it. In 2012, the reported spending on cancer treatment was 124.6 billion dollars.  Blood money.

https://www.theorganicprepper.com/making-a-killing-with-cancer-a-124-6-billion-dollar-industry/

Feeding the Cancer Machine

Have you ever wondered why hospitals offer free cancer screening tests? …. free Pap smear, mammogram or prostate cancer blood test. Hospitals would like you to think they are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, that free cancer screening is a public service intended solely to improve your health. But there may be another motive at work here: providing free screening brings in new cancer patients, and cancer generates profits.

Hospitals generally make money on surgery to remove cancer. Then there are all the imaging tests, like CT scans and M.R.I.’s. Another big source of profit is cancer drugs. Hospitals make money on drugs by purchasing wholesale and charging insurers full price. Cancer doctors also purchase drugs wholesale, making as much as two-thirds of their income on the “chemotherapy concession,” in which they sell and administer chemotherapy drugs in their offices.

Hospitals and doctors need to make money, of course, but the high profit margin in cancer has created a situation where providers have every reason to screen more people and treat those who are diagnosed with cancer more aggressively — and few incentives to hold back.

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/opinion/01brownlee.html

Is America treating cancer the wrong way?

In the U.S., we spend more than $127 billion a year on cancer treatment – about 40 percent of it for drugs. Over the past decade, the price of cancer medication has doubled, with name-brand drugs costing on average $10,000 per patient, per month.

Chemotherapy is how we keep our practice going. Chemotherapy is how we keep our hospital running. Not only are chemotherapy drugs costly, but roughly two-thirds of cancer doctors’ income comes from administering drugs.

~ Stanford oncologist Dr. Manali Patel.

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/7/28/is-america-treatingcancerthewrongway.html

Conflict of Interest – Do doctors profit from chemotherapy?

 

 

Doctors in other specialties simply write prescriptions. But oncologists make most of their income by buying drugs wholesale and selling them to patients at a marked up prices. So the pressure is frankly on to make money by selling medications.

~ Dr. Peter Eisenberg, a private physician who specializes in cancer treatment.

They might have a preference to give you the one that they’re going to make the most money from.

~ Arthur Caplan, University of Pennsylvania Center of Bioethics.

 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14944098/ns/nbc_nightly_news_with_brian_williams/t/cancer-docs-profit-chemotherapy-drugs/#.W6EBas4zapo

Who Pays Your Oncologist?

Patients’ decisions are often not made by patients themselves, but instead are made by their doctors. Scared patients turn to their doctors for advice.

In the United States, at least, many oncologists make a good deal of their income selling drugs to their patients. Here is how it works.

Oncologists purchase intravenous chemotherapy from pharmacies. Patients then receive these drugs in the oncologists’ offices, with outpatient chemotherapy.

The oncologists then bill patients’ insurance companies for the treatments, including billing the payer for the cost of the chemotherapy PLUS a percentage based mark-up.

This “buy and bill” practice creates an incentive for oncologists to prescribe expensive treatments.

Giving physicians an incentive to prescribe expensive drugs is bad medicine!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/critical-decisions/201205/who-pays-your-oncologist

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Dr M: We should review death sentence in medicinal marijuana case

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that the government should review the case of the man sentenced to death for possessing, processing and distributing cannabis oil.

“No, I think we should review that,” he said when asked to comment on Muhammad Lukman’s death sentence.

Mahathir was speaking to reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (Cepsi) 2018 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre today.

Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah previously said she would write an appeal to the attorney-general to seek a pardon for Lukman.

She also said she would eventually seek to decriminalise the use of cannabis oil for medical reasons.

Lukman, 29, was first arrested in December 2015, along with his five-month pregnant wife for possession of 3.1l of cannabis oil, 279g of compressed cannabis and 1.4kg of substances containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

His wife was eventually freed, but he was handed the death sentence by the Shah Alam High Court on Aug 30.

The case has gone viral on social media, prompting a petition calling for his release.

His lawyer Farhan Maaruf reportedly said that Lukman had no intention to “push” the drug on the streets, adding that his client only wanted to assist patients whose ailments could be treated with THC.

According to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, any individual caught possessing 200g or more of cannabis will be charged with drug trafficking which carries the death penalty.

Source: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/443609

 

What is medical marijuana?

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine

More than half of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in some form, and more are considering bills to do the same. Yet while many people are using marijuana, the FDA still hasn’t approved it as a treatment.

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/medical-marijuana-faq

https://www.vox.com/cards/marijuana-legalization/what-is-medical-marijuana

There is no cure for cancer !

Is there a cure for cancer?

There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer recovery. But doctors have greater success finding and treating some types of the disease than others.

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/qa/is-there-a-cure-for-cancer

Can cancer be cured?

Yes, but not always.

Cured means that the cancer has gone away, and there is no chance of it coming back.

Doctors know how quickly certain cancers tend to come back, if they are going to. For example if testicular cancer is going to come back, it tends to be within three years, but breast cancer can come back 15 or even 20 years later.

http://www.cancerni.net/content/can-cancer-be-cured

Why haven’t we cured cancer?

A question we hear quite a lot from people is “why haven’t we cured cancer?” Billions has been raised, invested and spent on cancer research over many decades so it’s not unfair to ask the question. However, as research progressed we came to the realisation that cancer is a complex beast.

https://www.worldwidecancerresearch.org/blog-post/havent-cured-cancer/

Why haven’t we found a cure for cancer yet?

While we may never have a single cure for cancer, we’re certainly homing in on treating them.

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/why-have-we-not-yet-found-a-cure-for-cancer/page-2/

How close are we to curing cancer?

We are close to curing cancer in 2017. But we are not there yet.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/09/27/how-close-are-we-to-curing-cancer/#22fe373a5fad

Can We Truly “Cure” Cancer?

I don’t think any of us are naive and think there is some magic bullet sitting under our thumb that is going to miraculously turn into a cure, but that’s where we have to aim—to cure.

~ Monica Bertagnolli, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bertagnolli believes cures will be difficult to achieve and questions if that will be possible for some cancers. But the next best thing, is “making sure that it [cancer] doesn’t negatively impact a patient’s life.”

A cure is a long way off, but the prospect for some specific cancers does look bright.

~ James Allison, chair of the Department of Immunology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-truly-cure-cancer/

Do you think there will be a cure for cancer in our lifetimes?

No. It’s still going to be a long road, but there is good news for cancer patients.

~ Professor Barrie Bode, Northern Illinois University.

http://newsroom.niu.edu/2015/03/11/will-there-be-cancer-cure-in-our-lifetimes/

We will never find a cure for cancer

If all the positive cancer breakthrough headlines are to be believed, then the cure for cancer is right around the corner. But that is a far cry from reality. I think it’s an illusion to imagine that after millions of years of this disease we’ll suddenly find a solution. I don’t think that we’ll ever beat it, but I think that we’ll get it under control so that it becomes chronic but not deadly.

~ Dr. Jørgen Olsen, head of research at The Danish Cancer Society.

We won’t find a cure, but we’ll probably reach a point where we have so many ways to attack cancer that people won’t die from it anymore.

~ Mads Daugaard from the Molecular Pathology & Cell Imaging Laboratory at the University of British Colombia, Canada.

http://sciencenordic.com/scientists-we-will-never-find-cure-cancer

Survive for Five Years is not a cure!

The common yardstick is a five-year relative survival rate, i.e., ability to live for five years.

  • The number five used is an arbitrary figure. There is no scientific basis of choosing this number.
  • Being alive for five years does not mean the cancer is gone forever. It can recur.

The five-year benchmark becomes a balm for doctors and patients who find the unpredictability of their situations intolerable. Physicians are reluctant to say you might recur, so they would rather use these terms like: “OK, in five years, you’ll be cured.

~ Dr. David Johnson, deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

 Survive for more than 20 to 25 years, you can consider yourself cured!

The limit of dormancy appears to be between 20 and 25 years, and the patient surviving that long without recurrence or contralateral cancer is probably cured.

~ Theodore Karrison,, D.J. Ferguson, P. Meier. J Nat Cancer Inst. v:91, 6 Jan. 1999.

 

 

Higher fees protect private GPs from third party cuts, says medical association

Source: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/95995

HIGHER medical consultation fees will enable private doctors to stop relying on drug sales and splitting fees with third parties for income, said the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

“This harmonisation of fees must be done for the GP (general practitioner) clinics to survive. The GPs need to be paid adequate consultation fees so that they do not have to depend on selling medicines to sustain their clinic,” he told The Malaysian Insight, following news the government was revising the private doctor’s fees.

The new fees would still be lower compared to those charged by private GP clinics in countries like Vietnam (RM80), Indonesia (RM100) and Singapore (RM120).

 

Financial Conflicts of Interest in Medicine

To the Editor:

Breast cancer patients are tired of “breakthrough” therapies that do not extend life for even a day but do bring millions of dollars to industry, medical institutions and the doctors who care for us — Just stop circling the wagons, focusing on financial gain and fame. Become accountable, and not just by issuing “standards” that no one pays attention to.

Frances M. Visco
Washington
The writer is the president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/opinion/letters/doctors-conflicts-of-interest.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20180914&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=12&nlid=54459356emc%3Dedit_ty_20180914&ref=headline&te=1

Are We Being Misled About Precision Medicine?

Doctors and hospitals love to talk about the cancer patients they’ve saved, and reporters love to write about them. But deaths still vastly outnumber the rare successes.

By Liz Szabo  Sept. 11, 2018

———————————–

Facing incurable breast cancer at age 55, MaryAnne DiCanto put her faith in “precision medicine” — in which doctors try to match patients with drugs that target the genetic mutations in their tumors. She underwent repeated biopsies to identify therapies that might help.

“She believed in it wholeheartedly,” said her husband, Scott Primiano of Amityville, N.Y.

But there’s a problem with talking about precision medicine for cancer this way: It misleads the public.

Despite Ms. DiCanto’s high hopes, she died last year at age 59. According to her husband, she had benefited from standard cancer treatments, but none of the targeted therapies recommended through genetic testing extended her life.

Doctors and hospitals love to talk about the patients they’ve saved with precision medicine, and reporters love to write about them. But the people who die still vastly outnumber the rare successes.

“There are very few instances in which we can look at a genomic test and pick a drug off the shelf and say, ‘That will work,’” said Dr. Nikhil Wagle, a cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston who helped develop precision-medicine tests. “That’s our goal in the long run, but in 2018 we’re not there yet.”

Mr. Primiano said: “You think it’s going to be more precise, like a laser versus a shotgun. But it’s still a shotgun.”

In a study published last year in Cancer Discovery, precision medicine failed to help 93 percent of 1,000 patients.

At the most recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers presented four precision-medicine studies. Two were total failures. The others weren’t much better, failing to shrink tumors 92 percent and 95 percent of the time.

The studies received almost no news coverage.

Many of the doctors I interview as a health care reporter are uncomfortable talking about patients who don’t survive. They pivot to talking about people they’ve saved.

Hospitals promote their precision-medicine programs by showcasing the stories of long-term survivors. Companies that sell the tests that look for mutations — such as Foundation MedicineCaris Life Sciences and Guardant Health — highlight only the best-case scenarios.

 

 

Top Psychiatrist Didn’t Report Drug Makers’ Pay

By GARDINER HARRISOCT. 3, 2008

One of the nation’s most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to his university and violated federal research rules, according to documents provided to Congressional investigators.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University, is the most prominent figure to date in a series of disclosures that is shaking the world of academic medicine.

In one telling example, Dr. Nemeroff signed a letter dated July 15, 2004, promising Emory administrators that he would earn less than $10,000 a year from GlaxoSmithKline to comply with federal rules. But on that day, he was at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earning $3,000 of what would become $170,000 in income that year from that company — 17 times the figure he had agreed on.

The Congressional inquiry, led by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is systematically asking some of the nation’s leading researchers to provide their conflict-of-interest disclosures …

“After questioning about 20 doctors and research institutions, it looks like problems with transparency are everywhere,” Mr. Grassley said. “The current system for tracking financial relationships isn’t working.”

Dr. Nemeroff is a charismatic speaker and a widely admired scientist who has written more than 850 research reports and reviews. He was editor in chief of the influential journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr. Nemeroff did not respond to calls and e-mail messages seeking comment. Jeffrey L. Molter, an Emory spokesman, wrote in an e-mail statement that the university was “working diligently to determine whether our policies have been observed consistently with regard to the matters cited by Senator Grassley.”

Mr. Grassley began his investigation in the spring by questioning Dr. Melissa P. DelBello of the University of Cincinnati after The New York Times reported her connections to drug makers. Dr. DelBello told university officials that she earned about $100,000 from 2005 to 2007 from eight drug makers, but AstraZeneca alone paid her $238,000 during the period, Mr. Grassley found.

Then in early June, the senator reported to Congress that Dr. Joseph Biederman, a renowned child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, and a colleague, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, had reported to university officials earning several hundred thousand dollars each in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007, when in fact they had earned at least $1.6 million each.

Then the senator focused on Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg of Stanford, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, whose $4.8 million in stock holdings in a drug development company raised concerns.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/health/policy/04drug.html