Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Job's death

The passing of Steve Jobs has affected me more than I thought. It's not that I am an Apple devotee; far from it. I own no Apple products, and I have long believed that they were over-priced. That's not why his passing has affected me.

Here was a man with more money than Midas, yet he could not beat cancer. He had the best care in the world, one would assume. He could have access to drugs and treatments that no one else could have, simply because he could have bought the drug company with promising products, outright. Yet, he could not beat his cancer.

What chance is there for the rest of us? The one who have to depend on government health care, or health insurance that is cutting back services in order to pay for millions more on the government dole. We all know it's coming, and we all know these cutbacks are being implemented as we speak. (For example, Stanford cannot come to agreement with Blue Cross because they are instituting cuts in reimbursements.)

It is a dark period in cancer research. The number of drugs approved for cancer use is declining. Vulture lawyers are trolling for patients who may, somehow, blame some past use of a drug for some unlikely outcome. Drug development costs are rising. The FDA has instituted a 'go slow' policy so that they aren't blamed for problems with drugs that come up years after approval of the drug.

Already, promising drugs for CLL like flavopiridol (Alvocidib) are being dropped because the CLL population is so small. One can only expect further degradations of health care as time goes on, and as Medicare comes under greater assault by the millions of Baby Boomers (such as me) begin to retire. As the economy continues to falter, income to the federal government, including Medicare, drops.

It's a bleak time indeed. And nothing illustrates that more than the passing of Steve Jobs. The world may have lost a visionary, but it also lost a fellow cancer fighter; one of us.

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