"So Much For Miracle Cures"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, April 22, 2016

Miracles of modern medicine are truly amazing. They can also be confusing and the “miracle” cures often need a great deal more study.

As new drugs and procedures are introduced and used, more research needs to be done on the “after effects” of the claimed cures.

I was able to witness the use of a new “certain to cure” miracle drug right after it was approved for consumer use. My wife, Pat, was put on a long awaited, injectable drug. It was going to reduce cholesterol levels dramatically. It had been in trials for over three years and was claimed to be a replacement for statin drugs that patients had become intolerant of due to severe muscle cramping. Television ads showed patients being treated who were so thankful and happy to finally have a cure.

The directives were many regarding its use: specific areas for injection, how to store the medication, when and how to re-order, request information and report side effects. Her doctor monitored her first injections and explained how glad he was that she was able to participate in an “after trial” patient assistance program.

He said the medication would cost $ 600 per shot for those patients who had to purchase it and because it was so new most insurance companies were not willing to cover the cost.

The very first bothersome problem was when a call was placed to the manufacturer, via the provided number, a promise was given that a return call would be made. They never called back — no matter what the need was. Repeated calls had to be made to reach someone.

Her use of the drug continued and it was acknowledged how important it was to report any side effects. When she suffered a side effect and inquired about it to the company, she was told she would have to contact her primary care physician.

She passed on this directive to the university doctor who had arranged for her to “trial” the drug and he was appalled. He found it difficult to believe that she could not receive support or guidance from the manufacturer.

After four months and 10 injections resulted in a very minimal reduction of her cholesterol levels, plus a growing list of side effects, my wife was told to discontinue the medication by her doctors. When she called the manufacturer to report her inability to continue the trial they said, “Someone will call you to receive a report.” She actually got a call 10 weeks later from a nurse wanting to check up on her. The person had no awareness that she had left the program and once again said in about three weeks you will get a mailing you can respond to. The company is definitely poorly organized to handle such an important medication trial.

Several years ago I agreed to receive a new trial “miracle” treatment for cancer. After 40 treatments I was told the new treatments were a success and my participation was greatly appreciated. I was to receive progress reports on how the program continued but I never did. Years later I met the doctor in charge of the program and asked why I had not been kept informed and attempted to tell him of current problems I was having. He abruptly remarked, “You are still alive aren’t you.” This statement confirmed to me that no one was interested in the “after effects” of my treatment.

As I see it, I’m fairly certain most of the research and development of the “miracle” drugs receive funding from our government. Why is no one interested in the end results? Or are the funds just paybacks for contributions to election funds?

Cost of medications overseas, even just across the river in Canada, are much less. Our country is the sucker who is willing to pay the highest price — why? If we pay the highest tab, plus provide government funding shouldn’t our cost, at least for some of the drugs, be lower?

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