© 1998 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
from the Winter 1997-1998 Cancer Chronicles

NEW YORK--Cancer treatment here moved a step closer to the "McDonalds-ization" when Montefiore Medical Center announced a deal to open three 24-hour-a-day clinics devoted to cancer care, in the New York area, as well as a network of satellite offices.

The Center's new partner is Bentley Health Care of Beverly Hills, CA, a decidedly for-profit company that was founded by Dr. Bernard Salick with the money he got from his lucrative deal last year with Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Salick is a kidney specialist "who became a millionaire by pioneering a national chain of round-the-clock cancer clinics," according to the New York Times (2/9/98).

Naive observers might think that the main problem confronting cancer centers is that they still cannot cure about half their patients. Not at all. "The No.1 problem for not-for-profit institutions is capital formation," according to Dr. Spencer Foreman, president of Montefiore, which is based in the Bronx. "We saw Bernard Salick as an ideal partner for marrying our clinical expertise with his financial, managment and delivery expertise." The partners will also open an HIV-AIDS clinic.


With a drop in income caused by the introduction of mananged care, hospitals are now scurrying to market and expand their most lucrative services. Not surprisingly, cancer care is one of these. (Our own analysis shows that the industry is now worth over $100 billion per year, nationwide.) Montefiore is expected to have a particularly strong impact on "New York's multibillion cancer care and H.I.V.-AIDS treatment industries," as the Times called it, with exceptional candor.

The wealthy Dr. Salick will provide all of the capital financing. In return, he will be paid a "consulting fee" for his services. Dr. Salick said that he would invest about $300 million in the New York metropolitan area in the next few years.

"This will be a real bombshell in New York," said Dr. Salick. "My goal is to saturate the marketplace with cancer and AIDS centers. I'm talking to all the players."

Dr. Salick's first venture into the New York cancer market came in 1995, when he established a cancer center at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village. He lured several prominent cancer specialists to that center. Then the British pharmaceutical manufacturer Zeneca (wealthy from its tamoxifen profits) bought out his company last year for $450 million. Dr. Salick was removed from his post at St. Vincent's and indeed from the company that still bears his name.

So we have the rather scary prospect of breast cancer patients at St. Vincent's receiving tamoxifen, without ever realizing that the company that manufactures the drug also owns the cancer center!


Dr. Salick's "invasion" of the New York cancer scene is expected to put additional financial pressure on non-for-profit hospitals that have traditionally monopolized such care in the past. It will particularly interesting to see how the giant Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) as well the other comprehensive cancer centers will respond to this challenge.

Salick and his allies are poised to take over the lower-middle-class portion of the cancer patient spectrum. Memorial prides itself on "quality care," and in many ways delivers such care. We have long speculated that MSKCC will have to offer alternative and complementary medicine to their patients, as a way of making their service more distinctive and attractive to upscale patients.

This is precisely what is happening, with several initiatives in the works, although no announcement has yet been so far.

Ralph Moss's 1997 Letter to a Memorial Doctor


Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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