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NO DEATH PANELS, right?! PDF Print E-mail
Articles | Health

 

Cancer patients across this country are being told -- sorry, go home…we don’t have any more of your chemotherapy drugs.

Where’s the outrage? Where’s the media? Where the hell are you Democrat and Republican politicians, when people are dying?

Cancer care is being rationed in America.

At first I thought an email I received from William, a listener and 49-year-old cancer patient here in New Orleans, must be an isolated incident.  Wrong!

William described in his email his battle with cancer, the loss of his entire colon, and his subsequent chemotherapy.  He described how he had been through several rounds of chemotherapy to follow...Then, when he showed up one day at a New Orleans-area hospital for his scheduled chemo treatment, the doctors told him they simply were out of the chemotherapy drug. 

After reading Williams's email, and then talking to him on the air, a professor from Tulane called into my show to say he’s been following this same crisis for months.  The professor's wife is battling ovarian cancer and can no longer receive her life-saving chemotherapy, simply because the chemo drugs are not available.  Yes, this is America, but the drug that was working is no longer available for her.

The professor's research shows 136 cancer drugs are no longer accessible and 80% of hospitals are experiencing shortages of drugs for multiple life-threatening cancers. We’re talking drugs for prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia, etc.. Yes, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers…children are dying.

(You can listen to the audio of the calls from both William and the Professor below.)

After the show, I started digging. Here is some of what I found in my research.

“If you’re a pediatric oncologist, you know how to cure 70 to 80 percent of patients. But without these drugs you are out of business.”

“There are plenty of new brand-name drugs that do not cure anyone, but just extend life for a few months.” (The brand-names cost up to $90,000 per patient)

“Only the older drugs that can cost as little as $3 per dose and cure cancer are unavailable.”

“I called the American Cancer Society with my dilemma and was informed that some generic (the $3 kind) drugs are not being produced, because the production companies don’t make enough profit.” (cancer patient)

“10 percent of shortages are due to lack of raw materials. Most shortages appear instead to be a consequence of corporate decisions to cease production or interruptions because of money or quality problems, which manufacturers do not appear to be in a rush to fix.”

“This shortage is even inhibiting research studies that can lead to higher cure rates: enrollment of patients in many clinical trials has been delayed or stopped.”

And, this one is my favorite: “The low profit margins mean that manufacturers face a hard choice: lose money producing a life saving drug or switch limited production capacity to a more lucrative drug"

Really, is that a serious statement? Lose money producing a life saving drug, or switch limited production capacity to a more lucrative drug??? Well, come with me. We’ll go to Children’s Hospital, let’s talk with child cancer victims, face to face. Is it a “hard” choice now?

You tell me if there is something horribly wrong in a country when Democrat and Republican club members can get crazy angry over rumors of health “death panels,” but go dumb silent when the death panels are right in front of us!

Oh I forgot a quote from the New York Times story, “Shortchanging Cancer Patients” ….”Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, because all solutions require legislation.”

 

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