Lung cancer over the years has continued to claim lives of its victims. However, for over 25 years, thanks to intense clinical tests and research, a vaccine has been found. But why is there lack of information on how to access the drug to the public? The answer is simple; backroom dealings that certain government officials are making with firms in the pharmaceutical business to hoard the drug.
Cuba, for instance, the world’s largest exporter of tobacco, has the largest number of lung cancer victims. Cuba then developed a vaccine, CimaVax EGF, proven to be effective in managing lung cancer.
How the Vaccine Works
The treatment helps in minimizing the ability of a patient’s body to produce the EGF hormone. EGF hormone, is important in the cell division process resulting to an increase in the growth of cells in the body. Cancer is a result of multiplication of these cells and it’s stopped byusing EGF vaccine which stops the growth of tumor.
Atleast two clinical tests in Cuba have shown that CimaVax EGF, improves the survival rate of lung cancer patients usually in the terminal stage. Hypothetically, the survival rate of lung cancer patients can be increased if the vaccine is administered in the earlier stages of the disease’s advancement. Note that the vaccine is not preventive as in other diseases, only that it makes the lung cancer disease more manageable by reducing cases of early lung cancer deaths.
Other lung cancer treatment procedures like chemotherapy and radiation are known to kill patients. The side effects of CimaVax are mild. It is also less costly since it goes for $1 to produce it. This is much affordable formost poor Cubans. But why is the drug still not available elsewhere?
The Menace: Profit and Medicine
In recent years, the soured diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba that existed since the 1960’s were reopened. A positive result of this is that the lung cancer vaccine is being tested in Roswell Park Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program in the US.
However, fierce competition exists in theUS companies mainly from two firms; Ono Pharmaceutical and Aduro Biotech who produce BLP 25 and GVAX respectively. Both drugs have been in the research and trial stages since 1990’s, consuming millions of dollars as cost of development.
This is not sounding well with most pharmaceutical firms as many of them are motivated with the need to get profits from increased drug prices. A recent example is where Daraprim, AIDS treatment drug, had its right bought by an ex-hedge fund manager. It resulted to increased cost of the drug from $13 to over $700 for a single dose.
The reason behind such practices is clinical trials and researches on drugs. Drugs are hoarded, for a number of years then released to the public at unaffordable prices so as to reap huge profits in the long run.
End to Lung Cancer Deaths
Just like the oil sector, most pharmaceutical firms are hoarding the methodologies and technologies of coming up with a cure for lung cancer. Lung cancer patients and deaths are increasing each year, for example, in the US, 200,000 new lung cancer cases are reported each year with three quarters of this figure dying. Most of them are not aware or educated on the deceitful practices of big-pharma. Only education of the masses can put an end to such practices in the long run.