A 61-year-old man faces an early death. Fortunately, a drug exists that *might* help. Doctors, recognizing the case is imminently terminal, recommend trying it. The FDA grants special approval for the treatment. And money is not an issue.
What could go wrong?
Frederick Baron may be about to find out.
Seems that Biogen is refusing his doctors permission to use Tysabri in his case despite all of the pleading that people – important people – have done on his behalf. His son Andrew wrote to Biogen president James Mullen:
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”.
Sounds like someone at Biogen needs to remember what the purpose of medicine is, Mr. Mullen.
Frederick Baron might die sooner – sooner than 48 hours?! – if given the drug. I’m no physician; he might die screaming for all I know. But if he wants to try it and has the means to compensate Biogen for the treatment, then he should be allowed to do so. Period.
God bless, Frederick, Andrew, and family.