Women Fighting for Herceptin
Pat Thomas writes in The Ecologist that the breast cancer drug Herceptin "prolongs a few lives for an average of four months at a cost of £400,000 per life extended, and for the majority of women for whom it does not work there is an increased risk of severe heart damage and the spread of their cancer to the central nervous system." Yet, the British press has declared it a "miracle cure," thanks to savvy public relations efforts.
Sarah Boseley in The Guardian reported that on behalf of drugmaker Roche, a Ketchum employee called reporter and cancer patient Lisa Jardine, offering her "the chance to ... do paid talks at Roche seminars and ... help find[ing] funding for her own use of Herceptin. ... 'She said she would make it worth my while,'" Jardine said. An employee at another of Roche's PR firms, Porter Novelli, volunteered her services to the group Women Fighting for Herceptin. The group successfully promoted many "unhappy women who couldn't get their hands on the drug, [who were] willing to tell their stories to TV, radio and the newspapers."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Ian Hall, "Analysis: The drug buoyed by patient power", PR Week, October 13, 2005. (Sub req'd).
- Sarah Boseley, "The selling of a wonder drug," The Guardian (UK), March 29, 2006.
- R E Ferner and Sarah E McDowell, "How NICE may be outflanked", British Medical Journal, May 27, 2006. (Sub req'd until May 2007).
- Pat Thomas, "Herceptin: Clinical trial by media", The Ecologist (UK), July / August 2006. (Sub req'd).
|This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.|