From The Cancer Chronicles #20
© March 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

The National Cancer Institute spent $32 million of taxpayer's money researching its 'cure du jour,' taxol, a toxic drug made from the bark of Pacific yew trees. It then gave exclusive rights to harvest the yew, as well as "monopoly control over the data from federally funded research," to Bristol-Myers Squibb, the world¹s largest producer of chemotherapy.

In this sweet deal, BMS pays no royalties on taxol sales and only a pittance for the rights to the yew tree bark. Yet it charges hapless consumers $1,000 per treatment, or eight times what it cost the NCI to synthesize. These are some of the insights in "Unhealthy Alliances" by Linda Marsa (Omni, 2/94).

The article uncovers an "entangled financial web between government, industry, and academia." We learn that drug makers have "their own network of principal investigators (PIs), scientists, and doctors at leading medical schools around the country...."

While positive results are not required of such researchers, "the drug industry is more likely to continue pumping money to those whose results show that a compound is safe and effective than those who don¹t," according to Sidney Wolfe, head of Public Citizen¹s Health Research Group.

"All we receive in return for the extravagant tax breaks we give to the drug industry is the highest medication prices in the industrialized world," fumes Sen. David Pryor (D-AR), an industry critic.

articles on economics of cancer

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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