A recently published research study has shown that majority of recently approved drugs in the UK are not shown to extend a person’s life, and many patients were given false hope when drugs which were advertised to be breakthrough have not shown efficacy in both improving survival rates and standard of living.
New study finds that majority of recently approved Cancer drugs show no survival benefits in the UK
The study was published in the BMJ, and explored incisively into the 48 medications which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These medications were used to treat more than 60 different types of separate Cancer. One shocking revelation from the paper was that drugs were distributed in the market without clear proof of their effectiveness in 2 out of 3 cases. Researchers from King’s College London and the London School of Economics found that many approved drugs showed no survival benefits, and those which did were statistically insignificant.
Drugs were approved through the fact that they had a biological effect on the body, instead of the fact it worked!
A dark light was shined on the medical landscape as approval of the drugs happened not because they worked, but because they caused some biological activity in the body. This is ridiculous and outrageous. When people eat, there is a biological effect on the body. When people are happy, chemicals get released and there is a biological effect on the body. Knowing that drugs were approved not because they helped further validated that change is necessary and the fact that many patients are/remain unaware.
One particularly noteworthy comment was given by Dr Courtney Davis from King’s College London, “When expensive drugs that lack robust evidence of clinical benefit are approved and reimbursed within publicly funded healthcare systems, individual patients may be harmed and public funds wasted“.
Another fellow author, Huseyin Naci supported the sentiment given by Dr Courtney, and said that “There is a clear need to raise the bar for approving new cancer drugs“.
All the research conducted has shown one stunning revelation, that the EU system is broken, and decisions which are approved are unjustifiable, a perspective which was echoed by Professor Vinay Prasad in a linked editorial.
Why are drugs approved despite of its lack of effectiveness in patients?
One scary and perhaps, hidden truth is that drugs which do not have real effectiveness in patients continue to be sold today. The study has been published, yet we see a trend of inactivity. For example, Emma Greenwood, the Director of Policy for Cancer Research UK said that this is not an accurate portrayal of the medical scene in the UK (what is then?). She further commented that while EMA approves drugs to be sold in Europe, (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) NICE decides which drugs can be made available to patients based on clinical effectiveness and cost of a drug.
What then is the follow up on this study? Will it continue to fade away until family members of some patients fight for transparency and awareness? Must the industry wait until then before it look into how drugs which are sold on the market can help patients and sufferers? This report is very similar to another about how pharmaceutical companies are rushing drug trials to maximize the profits they can get from Cancer patients who are dying and desperate for a cure.
This report provides a somber note on how as sufferers of diseases and chronic conditions, there is a need to educate oneself and be kept up to date with the latest research.