We all know drug companies can’t be trusted. Profit driven entities, they only produce drugs that are meant to heal if there is money in it for them. In a way, that’s fine, that’s what big companies do. But we shouldn’t assume that they are the only means of ‘curing’ cancer. They may be the only commercial way of treating cancer but there is a lot of stuff pretty much omitted by these companies purely because they cannot monetize it. For example, new cancer drugs will never be free or natural. Companies cannot make a profit from things that are free or available for free in nature – so we can absolutely rule out the possibility that there may be various natural remedies for cancer because they will never make it past the boardroom table. If they don’t make it past the boardroom table, they will never be brought to the regulatory bodies for approval. So in the scientific/commercial/medical conglomeration, these treatments will never be approved.
Invariably, new cancer drugs these days are expensive and governments are held to ransom to purchase the drug by desperate patients. And who can blame them when faced with such an insidious illness?
So it’s not really surprising to hear that most new cancer drugs don’t extend life. Researchers from King’s College London and the London School of Economics found that after five years on the market, only 11 out of the 68 approved drugs showed “clinically meaningful benefit,” as determined on a scale used by the European Society of Medical Oncology.
The study says it’s much the same story in Europe and America. The problem stems from the use of “surrogate endpoints”, an end point of a study selected by the drug company to prove to the regulator that their drugs work when applying for permission to produce them.
The endpoints may be a blood test or a length of time when the cancer is shown to not have spread any further. Without using these surrogate endpoints, the drug companies would have to wait years to see if the drugs had any beneficial effect or extended the life of the patient.
Once the drug is approved, the drug companies are meant to continue to collect information. But often, two things happen – either the beneficial effect doesn’t happen or the data is simply not collected.
Which raises the question what your health service is doing when they don’t demand that further proof and the regulators clearly haven’t been asking for it.
It’s not just a cancer drug problem either – the lack of data and useless drugs extends across the system. Dr. Vinay Prasad, writing in an editorial in the BMJ claimed, “What these papers are showing is that for maybe almost as much as half of the drugs out there, we never get this information,”