The Cost of Cancer Drugs

Go Lean Commentary:

1. Even a broken clock is right … twice a day.
2. Greed is good … for incentivizing innovation.

According to the transcript in the below VIDEO, “Cancer is so pervasive that it touches virtually every family in this country. More than one out of three Americans will be diagnosed with some form of it in their lifetime. And as anyone who’s been through it knows, the shock and anxiety of the diagnosis is followed by a second jolt: the high price of cancer drugs.”

“If 1-in-3 Americans are at risk for cancer, Caribbean citizens cannot be far behind”. So declares the book Go Lean…Caribbean (Page 157). This is not speculative, this is real … life and death. The principal author for the Go Lean book dedicated the book to his sister who had recently died after losing her battle with cancer. 42 years earlier, their mother died of the same cause.

The opening quotations relate the underlying theme of this commentary, that the cost of cancer drugs is a distortion of the “free market”; reflective of American “crony” capitalism. Also, that despite an obvious broken eco-system, failed-state status in Cuba, this Caribbean country “does cancer drugs right”. This point is related in the following article:

Title #1: Medimpex to sell Cuban ‘scorpion’ cancer drug here [in Jamaica]
By: HG Helps, Editor-at-Large

CU Blog - The Cost of Cancer Drugs - Photo 1HUNGARIAN drug distribution company Medimpex has been granted exclusive rights to import and sell to retailers the Cuban cancer-fighting drug Vidatox.

The drug, produced by protein peptides from the venom of the blue or Rhopalrus Junceus scorpion — endemic to Cuba — will be available in Jamaican pharmacies before the end of October, an official of Medimpex told the Jamaica Observer.

“On September 18, we signed a contract with Cuban company Labiofam, which distributes Vidatox and we are awaiting the first shipment in another four weeks,” Medimpex’s Managing Director Laszlo Bakon said.

“We see a huge potential for the drug in Jamaica, because cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Jamaica and other countries of the world.

“The demand is definitely there. We have held meetings with oncologists in Jamaica and the feedback from them and the rest of the market is good. It is a unique cancer treatment,” Bakon said.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health approved the introduction of Vidatox to the shelves of local pharmacies, following its registration on June 18, when a team of technocrats from the socialist country visited.

Early indications are that the cost of the oral drug could be in the region of US$150 for a 30ml bottle, which normally represents two months’ usage.

Vidatox is already being used in Asia, Europe, North, South and Central America.

The drug has been used to treat cancer-related ailments among the Cuban population for over 200 years. This followed 15 years of clinical research spearheaded by Cuban biologist Misael Bordier and tests involving more than 10,000 people — 3,500 of them foreigners — which yielded positive results in improving quality of life, retarding tumour growth and boosting the immune system in cancer patients.

The drug is said to be safe, with no side effects, and is principally used along with conventional medicines.

“The Cubans have done their job and from now on it will be our job to put it on the market. There is a lot of scepticism from the western world about the drug, but the truth always triumphs. When they see what happens to patients, then they will believe. We have clinical proof that Vidatox works,” said Bakon, who is also Hungary’s honorary consul in Jamaica.

Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Yuri Gala Lopez, hailed the new business alliances.

“I hope that doctors in Jamaica will take advantage of this partnership, as steps like this will strengthen the already close relationship between Jamaica and Cuba,” Gala Lopez said.

Bakon said that there would be sharp monitoring of the use of the drug and meetings have been held with the National Health Fund and the Jamaica Cancer Society, but no direct communication has been established with the management of public hospitals yet.
Jamaica Observer Daily Newspaper = Posted 09-24-2012; Retrieved 10-07-2014–scorpion–cancer-drug-here_12606863


VIDEO Title: The Cost of Cancer Drugs in the US
CBS News Magazine 60 Minutes – Posted 10-05-2014. (VIDEO plays best in Internet Explorer).

Why is the cost of cancer drugs so high in the US?

One theory was posited in a recent Go Lean blog, that related that Big Pharma, the Pharmaceutical industry, dictates standards of care in the field of medicine, more so than may be a best-practice. The blog painted a picture of a familiar scene where pharmaceutical salesmen slip in the backdoor to visit doctors to showcase latest product lines; the foregoing VIDEO relates that there are commission kick-backs in these arrangements. The Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean must take its own lead in the battle of health, wellness and cancer. The US eco-system is mostly motivated by profit.

Cuba is right, on this matter. As they demonstrate, we can do better in the Caribbean homeland, and still glean economic benefits.

The Go Lean book strategizes a roadmap for economic empowerment in the region, clearly relating that healthcare, and pharmaceutical (cancer drug) acquisitions are important in the quest to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. At the outset of the Go Lean book, in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 11), these points are pronounced:

viii.  Whereas the population size is too small to foster good negotiations for products and commodities from international vendors, the Federation must allow the unification of the region as one purchasing agent, thereby garnering better terms and discounts.

ix.     Whereas the realities of healthcare and an aging population cannot be ignored and cannot be afforded without some advanced mitigation, the Federation must arrange for health plans to consolidate premiums of both healthy and sickly people across the wider base of the entire Caribbean population. The mitigation should extend further to disease management, wellness, obesity and smoking cessation programs.

The Go Lean serves as a roadmap for the implementation and introduction of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU‘s prime directives are identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

Previous blog/commentaries addressed issues of capitalistic conflicts in American medical practices, compared to other countries, and the Caribbean. The following sample applies:

Antibiotics Misuse Linked to Obesity in the US
CHOP Research: Climate Change May Bring More Kidney Stones
Big Pharma & Criminalization of American Business
New Research and New Hope in the Fight against Alzheimer’s Disease
Health-care fraud in America; criminals take $272 billion a year
New Cuban Cancer medication registered in 28 countries

The foregoing news article and VIDEO provides an inside glimpse in the retailing of cancer groups bred from a research discipline. Obviously, the innovators and developers of drugs have the right to glean the economic returns of their research. The two foregoing articles (#1-Print and #2-VIDEO) show two paths, one altruistic and one bent on greed. In the Caribbean, Cuba currently performs a lot of R&D into cancer, diabetes and other ailments. The Go Lean roadmap posits that more innovations will emerge in the region as a direct result of the CU prioritization on science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) activities on Caribbean R&D campuses and educational institutions.

The Caribbean Union Trade Federation has the prime directive of optimizing the economic, security and governing engines of the region. The foregoing article and VIDEO depicts that research is very important to identify and qualify best-practices in health management for the public. This is the manifestation and benefit of Research & Development (R&D). The roadmap describes this focus as a community ethos and promote R&D as valuable for the region. The following list details additional ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to optimize the region’s health deliveries and R&D investments:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices and Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations – Group Purchasing Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development (R&D) Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Integrate and unify region in a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Health Department Page 86
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Drug Administration Page 87
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Implement Self-Government Entities – R&D Campuses Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade Page 128
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Healthcare Page 156
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Foundations Page 219
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Persons with Disabilities Page 228
Appendix – Emergency Management – Medical Trauma Centers Page 336

The Go Lean roadmap does not purport to be an authority on medical or cancer research best-practices. The CU economic-security-governance empowerment plan should not direct the course of direction for cancer research and/or treatment. But something is wrong here. The pharmaceutical companies cannot claim any adherence to any “better nature” in their practices. Their motive is strictly profit …

CU Blog - The Cost of Cancer Drugs - Photo 2The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, released a song with the title: “They don’t [really] care about us”; he very well could have been talking about Big Pharma; ( The foregoing CBS 60 Minutes VIDEO relates one drug, Gleevec, as a  top selling option for industry giant Novartis, “bringing in more than $4 billion a year in sales. $35 billion since the drug came to market. There are now several other drugs like it. So, you’d think with the competition, the price of Gleevec would have come down. Yet, the price of the drug tripled from $28,000 a year in 2001 to $92,000 a year in 2012”.

This is not economics, which extols principles like the “law of diminishing returns”, or “competition breathes lower prices and higher quality”. No, the cancer drug industry is just a “pure evil” version of American Crony Capitalism.

This is not the role model upon which we want to build Caribbean society.

We can do better in the Caribbean – thanks to Cuba, we have done better. We can use this ethos to impact the Greater Good; this means life-or-death. This is the heavy-lifting of the CU. We can make the Caribbean a better place to live, work, heal and play.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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