Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ironic, Isn't It?

My daughter has asked me, more than once, to give her a clear example of irony and I generally fail to come up with one that captures its true meaning. Thanks to Senator Ted Kennedy I now can give her a descriptive example.
At the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando this week, encouraging phase 2 clinical data was presented that offered hope to patients like Kennedy who've been diagnosed with brain glioblastomas. A collaborative effort between Celidex Therapeutics, a small biotech firm, and Pfizer, the evil large pharma company, are developing a potential vaccine, CDX-110 (PF-04948568), to extend the lives of the tumor's victims. The companies provided new evidence of the agent's effectiveness.

There are rumors that Kennedy is one of the clinical patients being treated. It's been more than a year since Kennedy was diagnosed with a disease that has a three year survival rate of less than 10%. He's undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and now possibly a novel therapy, all carried out by the much maligned U.S. medical system. Leftists like the Senator would prefer to substitute a socialized system in place of the one he's now utilizing.
The following link provides a hypothetical account of a typical citizen (i.e. - not like Kennedy) facing Kennedy's diagnosis in today's Britain. The writer also points out that in Canada, a Liberal candidate for Prime Minister opted for treatment in California rather than in her home country when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

And here's a link to a NewYork Post article from a year ago making much the same point and providing a couple of nightmarish stories for illustration. The Post notes that Kennedy was treated with Temodar, (developer - evil big pharma firm Schering) the first oral chemotherapy agent for brain tumors in 25 years. And that,

(The) British health-care rationing agency, the National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness, ruled that, while the drug (Temodar) helps people live longer, it wasn't worth the money - and denie(s) coverage for it.

An agency with the acronym NICE, no less. A real Orwellian scenario - one that will become all too familiar in the socialized health care future Kennedy and friends promise us. Meanwhile, the senator is being kept alive by the system he wants to displace. What's the word for that?

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