When a chemotherapy drug is approved for cancer treatment by the FDA, it is approved to treat a specific type of cancer. And some drugs are FDA approved for use on multiple types of cancer. That’s fairly easy to understand.
But here’s the bombshell…
Researchers have discovered that about one-third of chemotherapies are used to treat cancers that the FDA never approved them to treat, according to a new study led by Rena Conti, an assistant professor of health policy and economics at the University of Chicago.
Once a drug is approved by the FDA, the pharmaceutical companies have their “foot in the door”.
Then the drug companies can produce their own biased reports and studies and lobby through organizations like the National Comprehensive Care Network (NCCN), and their own drug reps to convince oncologists to prescribe these drugs for cancers they are not approved to treat.
Conti is not accusing anyone, but notes that some researchers have criticized NCCN recommendations, because of possible delays in guidelines based on the latest data, and possible conflicts of interests.
Conflict of interest? Surely not…
Why would the drug companies want their drugs to be used off-label?
Because the more cancers a drug is used to treat, the more profitable that drug becomes.
It always boils down to money. There is more money to be made “treating” cancer than curing it.
In 2010, the total cost of chemo drugs was $12 billion. $4.5 billion was spent on these controversial off-label chemotherapies, and $2.5 billion of that was for uses that even the NCCN did not support.
Opponents of nutrition and natural therapies for cancer like to get on their high horses about how chemotherapy is “evidence-based medicine” because it’s approved by the FDA. Therefore everything else is quackery.
So let me ask you, when 30% of chemotherapies are prescribed off-label, outside of their intended use, on cancers they have not been approved to treat, where is the evidence!
If you still think off-label drug use is a good idea, try spraying some Tinactin athletes foot spray up your nose next time you get a cold. Let me know how that works out. I’m exaggerating of course.
Who wants to be the next guinnea pig?
When doctors use chemotherapy off-label they are experimenting on their patients with little to no evidence that these toxic drugs will have any benefit to the patient whatsoever. And the truly sad thing is that many late-stage cancer patients are so ill-informed and so desperate that they will agree to anything.
“The main criticism of off-label prescribing has been the concern that it jeopardizes patient safety because the full risk-benefit ratio is often not completely understood,” – Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska.
“To me it’s a little troubling that so many drugs are given in areas where there is not a lot of data to back it up,” said Dr. Nancy Keating, a cancer researcher not involved with this study.
This post is a summary of a Reuters article by Andrew Seaman, with my comments added.
You can read his full article here.