Cutting the Federal Budget is important.  But at the expense of funding vital clinical trials?  Check-out this excerpt from a recent Reuter’s article:

Faults seen in cancer study funding

By Amy Norton – NEW YORK | Wed Apr 11, 2012

(Reuters Health) – It’s well-known that clinical trials of cancer treatments often can’t cover their costs. But a new study suggests that government-funded trials could take at least one cue from those backed by drug companies.

(This excerpt is from the middle part of the article)


An alternative for individual cancer centers would be to take part in fewer and fewer cooperative group trials, and more industry-funded ones.

A recent survey of centers in the NCI cooperative program suggested that is happening: one-third said they were going to limit their participation in NCI-funded trials in the future.

But non-industry trials are vital, Seow pointed out. Drug company studies may bring us the “next blockbuster drug,” he noted, but the cooperative group trials help answer the bigger questions of how to improve cancer patients’ overall care.

This new analysis, Seow said, looks at just one aspect of the larger, complicated issue.

The 2010 report from the IOM recommended an overhaul of the NCI cooperative group program. Many of its suggestions focused on efficiency: the process of simply designing a trial, for example, is lengthy and cumbersome — taking an average of two years to complete.

It also called for more funding. The NCI’s payment-per-patient has not changed in a decade, standing at about $2,000. But the actual cost is thought to be closer to $6,000, Dilts points out in his editorial.

The NCI has said it plans to boost that reimbursement to $4,000, at least to “high performance” centers that enroll a large number of patients in clinical trials.

In an email to Reuters Health, a spokesperson for the organization said it recognizes the need for more funding going to individual study sites.

But centers may still end up spending the money up front, Dilts notes — especially with today’s trend of doing expensive genetic testing of patients. That’s done because researchers are increasingly trying to develop treatments that are “personalized” to patients’ genetic makeup.

So there still may be no money left over for years of patient follow-up.

Independent studies are vitally important to the process.  Drug companies aren’t going to fund studies investigating general health, use of supplements and/or alternative medicine or anything which isn’t going to directly add to their bottom line.

CLICK HERE to access the entire article.

This is all very concerning!   Congress, watch where you cut the budget!  I bet Tea Party supporters (especially those with cancer!) and most everyone else can admit cutting health related research in order to save a less than one billion dollars a year is unfortunate austerity for the reasons I wrote above.

The free market can’t do it all–and this is a perfect example of why.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Leave a Reply