Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Risk vs. benefit - what's worth it?

Yesterday's post was sidelined by computer problems.

Today I'm up an running on a laptop and surfing the web for more imponderables. Today's question - is the benefit really worth the risk?

Apparently the FDA has approved another new diabetes drug called Victoza despite some evidence that the drug may cause a rare form of thyroid cancer. {The Victoza website includes the cancer warning as the first line under Important Safety Information}.

I'm sorry, but I just don't get why someone would feel the risk of getting cancer is better than trying some other drug to control diabetes. The instance of cancer may be small [and so far seems only to have occurred in laboratory rats], but nevertheless, why should a patient accept the prospect of a debilitiating [at best] and deadly [at worst] disease in order to fight another debilitating and often deadly disease? What really is the trade off?

Sure it's fine if you're not one of the unlucky few to develop cancer as a side effect of your treatment, but what if you are? Then was the risk worth it?

I think the real issue here is, the cost of defending the pharmaceutical company against lawsuits should someone develop cancer as a result of taking the drug, is minimal compared to the profit the company will make by selling the drug and having their reps convince doctors the drug is safe and effective in most cases.

Let's call a spade a spade here. The financial benefit outweighs the financial risk and the cost of human life has nothing to do with the equation.

No comments:

Post a Comment