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  • David Foster (shown here with his friend Gracie) is National Strategic Advisor for Morris Communications, and has been a leader within the independent magazine community for years. In April 2005, Dave was diagnosed with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma, Stage 4, the sixth deadliest cancer, behind lung, liver, and breast. In emails to his ‘wellness group’ of friends and colleagues, Dave began chronicling his battle with the disease. In this blog, Dave Foster continues to “kick cancer’s arse”, sharing his story with a wider audience.

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September 30, 2007


Hi:I have mixed thoughts on Sutent. The capitalist in me says to buy the stock, but the cancer victim in me prevents me from such hypocracy. I feel that they are charging way too much for Sutent. I also wonder why the price that others refer to is $7,000-$12,000. Why the huge range? This is not toothpaste. My insurance pays $7,000 for 28, 50 MG. capsules. My guess is that if you don't have insurance, then Pfizer jacks the price up to $12,000. I know that doesn't make any logical sense, but that is the policy with medical providers. Look at your bills. If you are a private pay, you don't get the customary 40% discount given to HMOs.The business person in me can't understand these huge price deviations.It looks to me the whole system is on tilt. And no I won't be investing in a tilted business.

David you are 100% correct. Business is business.
Who doesn't like a WIN. WIN.
Win for Pfizer and a WIN for you, me and the rest of the warriors.

But I must share with you my conspiracy theory as to how come Pfizer, Wyeth and others are now finding themselves making targeted therapies to control cancer as opposed to actually curing it. Cancer is no longer a disease state it is a chronic illness. And that is the start of my theory.

Unfortunately that will need to wait for another day. My little brown pill is calling me and I must obey. Good night Commander Foster.

I do agree wholeheartedly with everything you just said about Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies "except" for those patients who need these life-saving drugs, our governments should fund the total costs if the companies do not offer a compassionate program. Yes, cancer patients and their families are indeed very happy to have these new medications, but if an individual does not have medical coverage and the drugs are not provided at a lower cost, then what happens? Let's face it, who has the financial stability to actually pay from $8,000-$12,000 per month on their own? Not many I'm afraid! All of us should lobby our provincial, federal, and state governments to make this provision mandatory for patients who are diagnosed with terminal cancer and taking such life saving drugs is their only option. After all, isn't that the whole purpose of why they've discovered these medications? My husband now is on one of these drugs which is presently being supplied free of charge by the pharmaceutical company, as it is not yet approved in Canada...once the approval goes through, then it's our responsibility to come up with the $12,000+ per month...we will cross that bridge when and if we have to.
This is a great topic David for discussion by all! I'll look forward to reading more posts from your readers.

David, I used to work for Pfizer ( when it was Pharmacia) for three years in Kalamazoo. I worked for the Vice Pres of operations and wrote the meeting minutes for him and the other engineers. I would even sometimes load the vials on to the rack to be filled with various drugs. All of those people that I worked for were a bunch of greedy bastards. Money was the most important part of that business of course. Also the amount of pills that were just discarded was gross. I am thankful that they do make pills that help people but make no mistake they are very greedy.

David a most excellent blog. You hit the nail on the head. I too believe that at times we live through rose coloured glasses and look only at the picture that effects ourselves not the bigger picture. I still remember in 2002 when one of Joe's oncologists said to him "hang in Joe there are new drugs coming down the pike" At times we worried maybe he wouldn't be here to see the new drugs but with God's blessing he did. So we have to be thankful to Pfizer and Bayer (maker of Nexevar) that they continue to produce "life saving" drugs. Like you said there is no trade off when it comes to life. Through our own experience with nexavar (Bayer) before it became approved in Canada, Bayer supplied Joe with the medication and they were so wonderful to us it was amazing. When Sutent was approved here, fortunately for us our private insurance paid for the $8600. per cycle (7 cycles do the math). We have to be grateful for our Health Carrier. So if someone has to live in an "ivory tower" so my husband continues to live, so be it. Great blog David.

When we had our business the expenses took a huge part of the money we took. From paperclips to employees, it all adds up.

Having said that, I want to go on record as saying that I agree with your opinion that we should be happy we are still alive and enjoy the life we have.

Compared to that nothing else matters.

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