Cancer Cures Held Back By Pursuit of Profit

The development of affordable and long lasting treatments for cancer is being held back by a need to satisfy the ambitious commercial objectives of the pharmaceutical industry, which are often at odds with the needs of patients. This has led to exorbitant pricing for new drugs, a failure to invest in promising discoveries that have limited commercial benefits and a drip-feed of new drugs of marginal therapeutic benefit rather than genuine breakthroughs for patients.

Our goal may be to beat cancer sooner but the current profit-led R&D system is geared to beat cancer later, as that's more beneficial for the drug companies who we depend on to turn cancer research into new medicines. We desperately need the R&D system to be reformed, so that it focuses on maximising benefits for patients rather than maximising profits.

In October 2014, Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research and one of the world’s leading experts in cancer drug discovery, told the World Oncology Forum that “the global system for discovering new cancer drugs is broken and failing to turn scientific advances into enough innovative new medicines”.

In September 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concluded that conflicts of interest between profits and public health within the pharmaceutical industry have led to a lack of new drugs of real therapeutic benefit in recent years and shocking levels of profiteering. Backed by the UK, it voted overwhelmingly in favour of a European-wide Resolution to tackle the issue.

In March 2016, Sir Richard Thompson, the Queen’s personal doctor for 21 years and a former-president of the Royal College of Physicians, warned that drug companies are developing medicines they can profit from, rather than those which are likely to be the most beneficial and he accused the NHS of failing to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies.

It is madness that governments are allowing cancer to be commercially exploited given the scale of suffering and death, and a kick in the teeth for all those who help by donating money to cancer research. We need to stop treating cancer like a money-making opportunity and start treating it like the humanitarian crisis it is.

Please sign our petition to help change this (it only takes a few seconds) and share this with as many people as you can.
SIGN THE PETITION NOW

How else can I help?

Facts and Figures

  • Annual cancer deaths - 9 million
  • Annual cancer drug sales - £75bn
  • Top Selling Cancer Drug 2015 - £5.2bn
  • Average Drug Firm Profit Margin - >20%
  • Avg. New Cancer Drug Adds - 2.7 Mths
  • New Cancer Drug Patents - 20 Yrs
  • Off-Patent Drug Prices - 78% LESS
  • Normal NHS Drug Price Cap - £30k/yr
  • Cancer Drugs NHS Can't Afford - 49%
See our Key Facts page for more detail.

Featured Post

20 Mar
Cancer Drug Profiteering

£99 Cancer Drug Being Sold for £83,000

Shocking new evidence has come to light of massive profiteering from ... More
Changes We Want To See

CampaignTShirtOverhaul Cancer Drug Development

We are campaigning for the UK Government to tackle failures in the system for developing cancer drugs that have led to:
  • profiteering - a failure to curb excessive profit margins on drug prices, leading to drugs being priced out of reach of patients;
  • missed opportunities - a failure to attract investment in promising discoveries with limited commercial potential, or to provide alternative public funding;
  • ineffective drugs - a failure to reward development of drugs with greater therapeutic benefit, in order to speed up progress.
All of these issues have arisen due to the conflicting needs of the pharmaceutical industry, which we rely on to develop cures, and the patients who need them - put simply, wealth vs health.

We are calling on the UK Government to:
  • acknowledge the conflicting goals of those developing cancer drugs and those who need them
  • better regulate the pharmaceutical industry to protect cancer patients' interests
  • ensure that cancer drug prices reflect costs and the public contribution to their discovery
  • find ways to reduce the costs of bringing new cancer drugs to market to ease prices
  • publicly fund promising cancer treatments that fail to attract private investment
  • work with the World Health Organisation to consider alternative drug development models
  • to work with other countries to agree a goal and timeframe to cure the majority of cancers
Comments from Supporters
These are a selection comments from people supporting the campaign.  Help us tell those in Government that this is an issue that people care about, which is costing lives and causing unnecessary suffering: Sign the Petition Now
Nita Snowden
Nita SnowdenPetition
This is SO wrong!!
Louise Dickinson
Louise DickinsonPetition
I believe those who are profiteering from the sale of these drugs at over- inflated prices have blood on their hands, much the same as any murderer. They have the means to save lives but choose not to do so. Shame on them!
Carolyn Crawford
Carolyn CrawfordFacebook
Absolutely shocking. Lives don't matter anymore. Consciences have been desensitised in the name of greed.
Rachel Adams
Rachel AdamsPetition
It is diabolical that big pharma is profiteering on the back the pain, misery and death of cancer victims and their loved ones. Anyone complicit in this process does not belong in public office. Prove your worth and stop this hideous practice before more lives are ended prematurely and in agony.
Lynn Phillips
Lynn PhillipsPetition
The current system does not seem to be working in the best interests of patients, doctors and the NHS. An overhaul is long overdue.
Len Andersdon
Len AndersdonPetition
Too many people profit from cancer research.
Robert Halliday
Robert HallidayFacebook
Why is this being allowed to happen, how can these drugs cost so much they say they need research but surely once they, develop the drugs it cant cost that much to reproduce, they are heartless?
Cate Field
Cate FieldPetition
Commercial needs over people's lives??? Is this our world now
James Brannan
James BrannanPetition
I totally agree that of course people's lives must come before profits. We can't hold back anything that helps progress towards saving lives.
Wendy McCormack
Wendy McCormackPetition
Healthcare must not be profit driven - that's just immoral.
Heather Turnball
Heather TurnballFacebook
Absolutely disgusting, how do they get away with it?
Richard Pink
Richard PinkPetition
This type of profiteering is a disgrace time to nationalise all pharmaceutical companies health is not a luxury its a human right.
Susan Dowling
Susan DowlingPetition
I think its disgusting that there are people in this world that will put money before human life.
Bev Christopher
Bev ChristopherFacebook
Where is the legislation that curbs this profiteering. Shouldn't governments intervene to save all the suffering ??
Beverley Christopher
Beverley ChristopherPetition
Curing the sick whatever the disease should not be an opportunity for few greedy people to make a fortune.
Carole Accorsini
Carole AccorsiniFacebook
This is absolutely criminal! There must be a law against excessive profiteering, similar to the monopoly laws?! If not then there should be, and quickly, to save many more people dying unnecessarily!
Marina Billinge-Jones
Marina Billinge-JonesPetition
I feel this is blackmail. There is no justification for that abuse of power.
Maureen Davies
Maureen DaviesFacebook
These drug companies should be taken over by the government so that they can no longer extort money from sick people, cos that is what they are doing.
Hayley Neale
Hayley NealePetition
I couldn't agree with this more. We hear about 'break-throughs' in the media so often and yet those that need it rarely get the benefits of it.
Maxine Cook
Maxine CookPetition
It is a travesty of humanity to deny people the best shot at survival because keeping them sick pays more.
Sue De Cesare
Sue De CesarePetition
We have an epidemic in the UK which is being ignored. Integrative Medicine is the answer but no one is listening. I hope this creates some big noise which the government cannot ignore.
Elizabeth Carballo
Elizabeth CarballoPetition
The cost of making the drug does not reflect the price, if it's life saving, let them have it.
Kerry Lackey
Kerry Lackey
Profit over people's health? What kind of nation are we?!! It's shameful.
Donna Lower
Donna LowerFacebook
Disgusting. We pay towards the research and yet when drugs are created then we cant afford to buy them!!!
Ann Morgan
Ann MorganPetition
These companies should be ashamed. Profiteering on the misery of others. Its disgusting. You know they would make far more profit if it was affordable for all.
Neil Hunter
Neil HunterPetition
This is completely immoral & needs sorting out, just like a lot more of the global corruption condoned by governments.
Diarmaid McDonald
Diarmaid McDonaldPetition
It is time we challenged big pharma's lies.
Deb Parsons
Deb ParsonsPetition
It is essential to raise public awareness and to insist that the government act to enable life saving drugs to be affordable and available
Marilyn Dickens
Marilyn DickensFacebook
I know drugs companies have to make a profit and investment, but this is just disgusting, disgraceful and down right appalling, and yes I'm a cancer patient multiple myeloma and bowel cancer!
Lynn Nowne
Lynn NownePetition
It is so wrong to do this to people suffering in this way. Pure greed !!

charities - show your support by backing our campaign

Show Your Support - Add Your Charity

Visit our supporters page for links to our supporters' websites.