Friday 10 December 2010

Give And Ye Shall Not Receive

If you, like others, have always had a sneaking suspicion that Cancer Research UK is effectively an R&D resource for the pharmaceutical industry (the signs aren't too well hidden), Judith Potts at the Telegraph only appears to lend creedence to the idea.

Some of these drugs will have been developed by the Clinical Development Partnerships. This section of Cancer Research UK takes anti-cancer drugs, which pharmaceutical companies have “deprioritised” - that is, “given up on” - and puts them through trials. If a drug proves to be successful, the pharmaceutical company retains the option to take the drug back and develop it for patients – but Cancer Research UK does not lose out because it would, then, receive a share of the revenue. Pharmaceutical companies sometimes abandon work on anti cancer drugs because of the time factor and the cost involved - it can take up to 10 years and hundreds of millions of pounds before these drugs arrive on the pharmacy shelf. This way, new medicines can be developed for use, particularly, with the more rare cancers.
Now, I've always wondered - even when they were called the Imperial Research Fund - what would happen if cancer charities were to find a cure for cancer.

Considering their donations come from the public, would they donate the cure to the NHS in recognition of where the funding originated? You know, give the country's money back to the people who provided it. Or would it be handed over to the pharma industry so that they can then charge the NHS (and thereby, us) for a profitable eternity?

Well, I have to say that this doesn't look too encouraging.

CRUK will take up a project that big pharma have "given up on", spend the money which women wearing pink have entrusted to them, and then give the successful outcome to über-multinational conglomerates to charge as they please to our tax account.

Where are the big business hating lefties on this issue, eh?

OK. Let's play with the idea that pharma retains an interest in these drugs which they have "given up on". Why are CRUK spending donor money on a lost cause without ensuring any potential benefits are given to the country? Is the state so inept that they have no means of retaining a patent and tendering for manufacturers under licence?

If it's dead in the water, it's a waste of charity funds. If, however, there is a chance that there will be a successful outcome (which there must be), pharma should either be paying for the research since they are going to be reaping the profits, or it should be released. Or perhaps business foresight doesn't apply when the money being spent isn't one's own (or when you don't care too much about anything but your own salary).

CRUK receive a share of the revenue? Whoopy-doo. Nothing financially advantageous to the taxpayer (or charity giver), but more money for CRUK to do pharma's R&D work for them.

CRUK (latest income £498m) haven't been going for 108 years for nothing you know. And big pharma haven't been averse to throwing some reciprocal funding their way for just as long, either.

Quite a lot of symbiotic back-scratching going on there, methinks. Nothing which will do anything to alleviate NHS expenditure or re-imburse you for your efforts, mind.


Ray said...

If CRUK or the pharma companies discovered a cure for cancer they would bury it never to be seen again. For if they cured cancer the CRUK's raison d'etre would disappear, and the pharma companies' revenue stream would lessen.

It is in the interests of both medical charities and pharma companies to prolong illnesses as much as possible. The companies whilst selling drugs that are both expensive and only alleviate the symptoms a bit. The charities whilst collecting as much money as possible.

Caratacus said...

"Where are the big business hating lefties on this issue, eh?"

Wouldn't work Dick...

"Wadda we want?"
" A morally driven drug research company whose principal concern is the welfare of the human race in general"
"Whenda we wonnit?"

It's just too much to think about.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I am curious about CRUK's PR spend.

PR Week archives is only the tip of the iceberg.

They must have hundreds of drones pumping bilge out to the provincial press - in my travels about the country I see CRUK boosting puffs in particularly the 250+ Gannet Media owned Newsquest titles ( webshite fleet).

Several years back they had a huge blundering incompetent screwup with actual research methodolgy that essentially nullified large swathes research. What was actually worse than f-ing up was the way they dealt with it - obfuscation, misdirection, "perception management" and tactical silences all deployed...

They hand out copy to trade rags too

The "CEO" is the highest paid charity employee in the UK...

Although some of the research they fund is of undoubted high quality they have a patchy (as in Patchauri) record of handing out money to folk primed to sing from their hymn sheet and a very "light touch" with their "favoured researchers".

Advocacy and campaigning is high on their agenda but the sign over the door says Research... I can feel a brand conflict coming on...

subrosa said...

I never give to this lot but give to

The Ninewells Cancer Campaign doesn't spend on PR and advertising. Yes it's involved with one big-pharma but I'm assured the money is in the hands of the Trust involved and so are the decisions. The Trust includes some of the best cancer researchers in the world.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Gordon and Subrosa: It's not just their lobbying and support for big business that is objectionable. There are many small charities (I've spoken to a couple near me) who are frustrated by CRUK sucking up all the funds they badly need.

One last year was going round selling raffle tickets at an event I attended, shouting out that none would go to CRUK. It surprised me so I asked why. She said that she desperately tries to raise funds for the hospice she was selling tickets for, but regularly gets told that they have given already ... to CRUK.

Her charity sees none of it and she is quite angry about that since it destroys their true charity efforts.

Give local is the answer. Not to huge businesses with CEOs who earn six figure salaries.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Dick,Rosie I agree - give local.

Keeping a charity like a hospice going is hard work and many local efforts struggle with maintaining the ranks of honest volunteers, increasingly I see charidee professionals creeping in and Brittas Empires forming.

The CRUK PR effort is I think very far reaching and pervasive (and I believe corrosive)- I didn't idly pair them up with Newsquest - a CRUK tea morning rates an article and a picture - that article bears eerie similarities with others from Newcastle to Plymouth. They hog the limelight in what I think is an unacceptable fashion with the lazy collusion of the MSM.

John said...

There are cures for cancer.

In 1931 a Dr Otto Warburg was awarded the nobel Prize for Medicine for finding out the mechanisms that caused cancer and how to stop the cancers forming in the first place and to cure them once they did. He was subsequently persecuted by big pharma and the medical industry.

There are quite a few other doctors who have had success over the years curing cancer - research the internet and your libraries and you will find the info - and all have been persecuted by big pharma and the medical industry.

Do the research - I did - and it is quite frightening what big pharma in collusion with the medical industry and government aided and abbetted by the food and chemical industries are doing to make money on the misery cancer causes.