Cancer Drug Shortages: A Reason To Discover Alternative Cancer Treatments

Yet another reason to discover alternative cancer treatments.

Early in 2011, there’s an indication of shortages in some drugs in the North American pharmaceutical market. Hospitals and pharmacists are seeing an ever-increasing trend in the frequency of these shortages. Manufacturers offer several reasons for this including shortages in raw materials, manufacturing problems, tougher regulations in other countries, and unprofitability. That may well be, but let’s examine another thought for a moment.

The basic law of supply and demand states that as supply decreases, demand increases. Typically, with an increase in demand, we also see an increase in costs because the market usually supports that. Or put another way, with a decrease in supply we see an increase in demand… and cost.

In recent years there have been a number of drug patents expire which has created an opportunity for more manufacturers, often from countries with lower manufacturing costs, to enter into the generic drug market. In effect, this has created an increase in supply, which has resulted in a decreased demand… and profitability. Good news for the consumer as the prices of generic drugs are usually cheaper. Basically, the more manufacturers there are the less they can charge for a product and the less profit they can make.

Conventional cancer treatment drugs are not cheap and they’re highly profitable. So given that there has been an influx in cheaper generic drugs into the market can we expect to see a similar trend in conventional cancer treatment drugs? Frankly, I doubt it. Think about this for a moment.

The drug companies that manufacture products for cancer treatments related to chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, or in support of surgery are pretty well established in the North American and global markets. And they’ve got their markets fairly well protected in several countries, either by law and/or substantial penetration into the medical universities. Today’s doctors only know what they’re taught. They’re taught to prescribe drugs for the symptoms. They’re not taught to diagnose and treat cancer causes. Nor are they taught a whole lot about nutrition, particularly how it relates to alternative cancer treatments.

It’s not illegal to treat people with alternative cancer treatments but you won’t find any mainstream doctors doing that. They’re taught how to treat cancer symptoms with drugs at the universities. The same universities that are funded by the large pharmaceutical companies for research. The same universities that are regulated in law by what they can teach about cancer treatments. The same universities that are regulated by the same government agencies that approve new drugs for cancer treatments. The same government agencies that are run by people with strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The same pharmaceutical companies that have strong lobbying capacity at the federal government level. The same government agencies that regulate the drugs that doctors are allowed to prescribe. Drugs that are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical companies that fund the research at the universities. You get the point. Cancer is a business. A really, really big business.

So I don’t see a cheap influx of generic cancer drugs anytime soon. It’s just not in the financial interests of the large pharmaceutical companies. And they have enough power to keep hold of their markets. So what does that mean to those of you who seek cancer treatments?

One possibility is that the large pharmaceutical companies will keep the prices high on their cancer treatment drugs. They can do that by maintaining control of their markets, much the same way they have for years. Or it’s possible that some smart pharmaceutical company folks will figure out that they can ride the “drug shortage” wave and create artificial demand. Much in the same way that the OPEC nations cut back on the amount of oil they release into the world market to create a demand and drive the price of a barrel up, the pharmaceutical companies could do the same with their cancer drugs.

So if you start to see lots of media attention around drug shortages and rising prices, ask yourself if it’s real or if it’s just a marketing ploy. To my thinking, I’m not so sure I would want my health being controlled by large market forces that are profit driven. So for my own peace of mind, I am researching alternative cancer treatments for a couple of reasons: (1) to understand better what my options would be if I did get cancer; and (2) understand cancer prevention better. You should too…