drug

Pharmaceutical giant Genzyme withdraws MS drug in order to re-brand it and sell at 20 times the original price

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Genzyme, MS drugs, profiteering

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(NaturalNews) Thousands of British patients suffering from the devastating chronic inflammatory disease known as multiple sclerosis (MS) now have one fewer conventional treatment option at their disposal thanks to the merciless greed of the Sanofi-owned pharmaceutical giant Genzyme. The U.K.'s Independent reports that Genzyme has intentionally withdrawn a popular MS drug known as alemtuzumab in order to re-brand it and sell it for up to 20 times its current price.

The drug, known as alemtuzumab, has been specifically licensed for the treatment of leukemia. But because it also apparently works quite well at alleviating MS symptoms in many patients, alemtuzumab is the drug of choice for many doctors successfully treating the condition. A study presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology back in April found that alemtuzumab actually works better than most of the other available drugs specifically approved as treatments for MS. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244718.php)

Just like in the U.S., off-label drug prescriptions are technically legal, which is why many doctors have chosen alemtuzumab over its various alternatives. But Genzyme, in a bid to significantly boost its profits, has decided to pull alemtuzumab from the market in order to run it through new clinical trials, and eventually re-brand it as "Lemtrada," which is expected to cost many thousands of dollars more than currently-available alemtuzumab.

"Many of us think [alemtuzumab] is the best drug for patients with aggressive MS in the early stages of the disease," says Professor John Zajicek from the University of Plymouth, one of many who is calling on the U.K. Health Secretary to stop Genzyme from restricting the drug's use. "It's the greedy behavior of the drug company that upsets me. They are just trying to re-brand it and put the price up. It is morally corrupt."

Genzyme's greed could end up needlessly killing thousands of MS patients

As a result of Genzyme's decision, alemtuzumab will now only be available as a treatment for leukemia patients, and not for MS patients. This is particularly concerning to Zajicek and many others who recognize that thousands MS patients currently rely on alemtuzumab for relief. Many people are questioning how Genzyme could be so heartless that it would pull a vital drug from the market, leaving thousands of patients without treatment.

"There is no good reason why people with MS who have been allowed to benefit from the treatment should now be denied it," Doug Brown, Head of Biomedical Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, is quoted as saying by the Independent. "Genzyme needs to come up with a scheme, quickly, that makes their product available to all those people currently being treated and, if it's licensed, price the drug reasonably so it is deemed cost effective on the NHS (National Health Service)."

Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disease, there are also a number of natural remedies that may help quell this serious disease and provide lasting relief without the need for pharmaceutical drugs. Here is a great article by our own Dr. David Jockers that explains some natural strategies for beating MS: http://www.naturalnews.com

Sources for this article include:

http://www.independent.co.uk

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