Some Think Big Pharma Is Suppressing A Cure For Cancer. Here’s Why That Could Never Happen

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

Source: Quora


How do you respond to the claim that there is no cure for cancer because of “big pharma”? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by David Chan, MD from UCLA, Stanford oncology fellowship, on Quora:

How do you respond to the claim that there is no cure for cancer because of “Big Pharma”?

As a cancer specialist, I tend to ignore it the way most people ignore other conspiracy theories.

Ever try to talk someone out of believing that the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks were an inside job done by a handful of demolition specialists? Can’t be done.

Every try to talk someone out of believing that the earth is flat? Or that Neil Armstrong never landed and walked on the moon, that it was all done out of a Hollywood sound stage? Can’t be done.

For conspiracy theorists, it’s not about the science. Their belief has become a religion.

Successful cancer research is not something accomplished by a 40 year old living in his mother’s basement and working out of a garage. There are hundreds of thousands of cancer researchers throughout the globe, racing to get the cure and claim to fame and a certain Nobel prize. These cancer researchers have family members and close friends who have or have died from cancer. I can personally count more than 20 people in my close circle. No one is going to suppress a cure.

Medical insurance companies and the federal government would love nothing better than to substitute a $100 cancer treatment for one that costs $1,000,000 like CAR-T immunotherapy.

No one can keep a secret. If there is a discovery about curing cancer the word gets out way before the scientific presentation. The result tends to be widely known despite the meeting and publication news embargo. That is why some biotech stocks go up while others go down months before the ASCO or AACR. News embargo? Good luck.

Several years ago I attended an oncology review course. The reviewer on this one particular cancer couldn’t contain himself and in the middle of his talk as his time limit was coming up, he flipped to the end of the slide deck and said “I can’t talk about this anymore without doing a disservice to everyone here. I’m presenting this paper next month that is going to revolutionize how _ _ _ will be treated starting in about 6–9 months. It seems stupid for me to be teaching you otherwise.” And he showed the summary slides of his upcoming presentation.

And that was that. This very well known cancer researcher broke every meeting and publication embargo rule. The cat was out of the bag one month prior in front of hundreds of cancer specialists. The drug under discussion is expected to reach $7 billion in sales globally and is truly paradigm changing.

Cancer researchers are human. Humans cannot keep important secrets. Cancer cures cannot be suppressed, not even for one month.