Helping save Andrew’s dad

Andrew Baron’s open letter to James C. Mullen of Biogen begins,

Mr. Mullen, my name is Andrew Baron and my father Frederick (61 yrs. old), has final stage multiple myeloma has been recommended the drug Tysabri as a last chance effort for life.
Please read this carefully.
Last Thursday, his doctors at the Mayo Clinic determined that he may only have about 24-48 hours to live.
In what can only be defined as a miracle in timing, a few days ago, one of his doctors who has been studying his tumor cells in the lab for years found an antibody with an exact match: Tysabri which is manufactured by your company, Biogen Idec. In the test tube, it attached to the antigens on the surface of the tumor 100%.
Though the drug has never been used before in this way, and because time is running out, the head of the FDA, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach has granted special approval for use of the drug for this purpose but you have personally decided “no”.
Lance Armstrong, who you spoke with on Friday, has also pleaded with you to say “yes” to my father, but you personally said “no”.
President Bill Clinton, Senator John Kerry, Senator John Harkin, Senator Ted Kennedy, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach and others who you spoke with on Friday and again yesterday on Monday have all pleaded with you to say yes”, assuring you that there would be no legal risk and no negative consequences to your company if something went wrong, but you continue to say “no”.

Andrew’s dad and I are exactly the same age. He’s also a great guy:

My father is a saint who has given his life and his resources to better humanity. He has spent his entire life seeking to protect the rights of others from harmful death and has spent an enormous amount of money and time in helping to shape our government to protect the rights of people everywhere. He is a philanthropist at heart.
1. Call Mr. Mullen or anyone at Biogen and ask them to please say yes (or provide a justification for whynot). Speak with anyone in the company in any department that you can find: http://www.biogenidec.com/site/contact.html

Here’s more on Mr. Mullen, from FastCompany.

Update.

6 comments

  1. Mary Lu’s avatar

    Shit is hitting the fan big time: Tort lawyer Fred Baron dying of cancer, denied experimental drug, son says

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/101508dnmetbaron.1162ada84.html

    I’ll get Doug up to call now. It’s a last ditch effort, it’s no skin off Mullen’s nose. If he says yes he’s a hero— no, he becomes another arogant CEO.

  2. James Robertson’s avatar

    Tell Andrew Baron to thank all of the people on that list who made it easy for trial lawyers to sue over “risky” treatments. They’re the main reason that company is skittish about helping him.

    In the meantime, yes – I hope he and his father get what they need. Just don’t forget why it’s a problem.

  3. Shelley’s avatar

    He received the drug. Not via the company, through something with the FDA.

    James Robertson, the company stated the reason was that if Andrew’s father had an adverse reaction, other doctors would be unwilling to try the drug, and other cancer patients in the formal study would be unwilling to participate.

    Nothing to do with tort law. Turn off the political spigot for one moment.

    I hope the drug helps.

  4. RBM’s avatar

    James just grabbed the wrong spigot !

    As Shelly points out via Robertson’s statement, consequences were considered. My understanding is these considerations were required by corporate law under fiduciary duty.

    The duty requires behavior that leads to shareholders to make money, priority one.

    Thus, in this case, money is more important than human life.

    The FDA option is probably best characterized as a kludge, for what I offer is a dysfunctional system.

    Thank goodness it was available for the patient’s sake.

    Related – Zeitgeist: Addendum

  5. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Shelley.

    Hope the drug helps too.

    I also notice that Fred Baron and I were born the same year.

    Life isn’t just short, it’s quick. And it gets even quicker as you get older. Years go by faster.

    So many simple lessons pile up. Make the most of your time here. Don’t get pissed at trivia. Be kind. Try to leave the place better than you found it.

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