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(Guardian)   Over half of new cancer drugs 'show no benefits' for survival or well being. Of 48 cancer drugs approved between 2009-2013, 57% of uses showed no benefits and some benefits were 'clinically meaningless'. Happy Breast Cancer Month   ( theguardian.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Cancer, cancer drugs, survival, The Canon of Medicine, survival benefits, Forty-eight cancer drugs, Better, Pharmacology  
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507 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Oct 2017 at 11:20 AM (2 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-10-05 09:48:01 AM  
11 votes:
Ineffective treatments are a critical component of the billable hours shell game that is for-profit medicine.
2017-10-05 11:52:22 AM  
8 votes:
I'm going to paraphrase/butcher something I read in the comments to this story on another site, but someone who purported to be a cancer researcher added nuance with the following points

1) To see true efficacy of cancer drugs, you need to have a 5-10 year study.  So sometimes you see some promising early results, and therefore there is a push to approve it for a chance to save lives.  The fact that 5 or 10 years studies subsequently demonstrate that the drug is be less effective than was initially hoped does not mean that the approval was in bad faith or incorrect at the time it was made.

2) there are drugs where statistics misrepresent their value.  For example, you could have a drug that's extremely effective for 5% of cancers, but not effective for 95%.  A study like the one in the article would suggest that it's useless, when in fact, it is an extremely useful drug to have in the arsenal.

3) there were some other points I don't remember
2017-10-05 10:58:31 AM  
7 votes:
For those who don't RTFA, this in in Europe, the drugs were approx by the European Medicines Agency.
2017-10-05 12:22:17 PM  
6 votes:

SaladMonkey: 2) there are drugs where statistics misrepresent their value.  For example, you could have a drug that's extremely effective for 5% of cancers, but not effective for 95%.  A study like the one in the article would suggest that it's useless, when in fact, it is an extremely useful drug to have in the arsenal.


This is really all you need to know. A drug may work fairly well on one particular line of cancerous cells. However even the cells in that particular line are not all the same, so the drug kills some cells and not others. So a drug may give you a 99% reduction in cancer cells, but that 1% is still there and thriving.
On top of that... What works on henrietta's cervical cancer cells may not work the same on maryetta's cervical cancer cells because the cancer came from a different genetic profile as a starting place.

even when a single tumor metastasizes, the cells that take root in your lungs have to be different to survive there compared to the cells that take root in your bones. Cancer just sucks. It's not about profit or marketing (though those do play into it), it's about the fact that every farking cancer cell is different, and they have potential to be stem cells and make new tumors.
2017-10-05 01:53:04 PM  
5 votes:

ds615: There is no up side to an actual cure.


Except, you know, the part where cancer will need to be constantly cured because its a genetic illness inherent to our process of DNA replication.  Cancer will someday be cured, but it will never be eradicated.  Pharma companies may do a lot of shifty crap, but don't act like there is some huge conspiracy to avoid curing cancer.  The potential profit from a cancer cure is LITERALLY INFINITE as long humanity (and a way to make the cure) exists.
2017-10-05 11:56:50 AM  
5 votes:

SaladMonkey: I'm going to paraphrase/butcher something I read in the comments to this story on another site, but someone who purported to be a cancer researcher added nuance with the following points

1) To see true efficacy of cancer drugs, you need to have a 5-10 year study.  So sometimes you see some promising early results, and therefore there is a push to approve it for a chance to save lives.  The fact that 5 or 10 years studies subsequently demonstrate that the drug is be less effective than was initially hoped does not mean that the approval was in bad faith or incorrect at the time it was made.

2) there are drugs where statistics misrepresent their value.  For example, you could have a drug that's extremely effective for 5% of cancers, but not effective for 95%.  A study like the one in the article would suggest that it's useless, when in fact, it is an extremely useful drug to have in the arsenal.

3) there were some other points I don't remember


To expand on that point,  in the case of the drug that is effective 5% of the time, you will only need one 95% effective drug to handle 95% of the cases but you may need 3 or 4 drugs that are 5% effective to address multiple reason primary drug is ineffective.
2017-10-05 11:32:12 AM  
4 votes:

ToastmasterGeneral:   Their arguments for the necessity of keeping Medicare coverage were nearly nonsensical.  involved very large checks.

2017-10-05 11:03:06 AM  
4 votes:
Back in my Hill staffer days, I had a meeting with some pharma company about a drug they had.  There were plenty of articles and studies on it (not that they brought this up in the meeting, of course) that showed that the drug had a negligible effect on extending lifespan (definitely not curing) of the people with the condition it was supposed to treat.  Oh, and it cost WAY more - as in many times more - than the other treatment.  They were lobbying because Medicare was likely to discontinue covering reimbursements for the drug, and naturally, that was bad.  Their arguments for the necessity of keeping Medicare coverage were nearly nonsensical.
2017-10-05 11:30:17 AM  
3 votes:

rcain: And yet they got approved by the FDA and are being pushed by oncologists nationwide for top dollar prices


"Forty-eight cancer drugs were approved by the European Medicines Agency between 2009 and 2013 for use as treatments in 68 different situations." You know, the Europeans, who do medicine so much better than the nasty for-profit USA.
2017-10-05 01:35:34 PM  
2 votes:

damageddude: ThatGuyOverThere: So a drug may give you a 99% reduction in cancer cells, but that 1% is still there and thriving.

My wife had been on chemo for the last year. The first and third treatments did not work at all, or stopped working almost immediately. The second treatment work 7-8 months, where the average was about two years. She never made it to the fourth (which was going to be a quality of life treatment). She had a very aggressive breast cancer that she thought she had knocked out 5 years ago but after 4 years the sucker got the upper hand.


There are no words for how terrible that is.  i'm sorry.
2017-10-05 03:14:29 PM  
1 vote:

knobmaker: lindalouwho: For those who don't RTFA, this in in Europe, the drugs were approx by the European Medicines Agency.

Are you trying to say that it's different in America?


It's different in America.
2017-10-05 12:08:24 PM  
1 vote:

Tr0mBoNe: Ineffective treatments are a critical component of the billable hours shell game that is for-profit medicine.


Kickbacks for politicians.
Cancer organizations profit.
Advertising profit.
Pharmaceutical profit.
Insurance profit.

There is no up side to an actual cure.
2017-10-05 10:36:28 AM  
1 vote:
And yet they got approved by the FDA and are being pushed by oncologists nationwide for top dollar prices
 
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