In a current thread ("
opening a hypothetical, proverbial can of worms") Todd1983 rightly wonders if possible loss of company profit would hinder the release of a discovered cure for cancer which a drug company had, but had decided not to release.
Well, here's a thought on that, a cynical attempt at humor at such a situation perhaps, but also possibly one that may accurately describe the matter.
Recently while website hopping, I happened to come across a reference to a classic Twilight Zone episode ("Button, button") written by Richard Matheson, the noted science fiction writer.
The story, in case you may not remember this one, is the one where a couple with money problems somehow meets a mysterious stranger who presents them with a way to gain money, but at a disturbing moral cost. He gives them a little black box with a button on it, and tells them that if one of them pushes the button, they will receive a million dollars, but at the same time a person, someone they don't know, will die.
So after presumably doing some soul-searching, one of them pushes the button. Then the million dollars arrives, making the couple rich and gleeful. Then the stranger rises to leave. But as he departs, the couple call out to him, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps out of fear, asking where the box is going next. The stranger simply replies, "I can assure you that it will be given to someone you don't know.
This story was even made into a film, "The Box" (2009), and here is a relevant scene from that movie:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbVzoV4GgM8
Chilling, chilling. But for some reason this morality tale brought to my mind another possible version of this story, a sort of fantasy that came to me.
In this, my dark-humor version, the scene is the spacious office of a drug company CEO. The CEO is sitting behind his large mahogany desk, chatting with the mysterious stranger across from him, while the desk between them is empty, except for one item sitting on it: the little black box with the button on it.
The mysterious stranger then says: "If you push the button, your drug prices will rise, and you will make millions of dollars. But at the same time some people you don't know, namely those customers of yours who need the drug but now can no longer afford it, or don't have insurance for it, will die. What are you going to do?"
The CEO muses for a minute, then reaches over and, firmly, pushes the button.
Am I being too harsh on the drug companies with this little bit of rewriting of the story? Are they really that callous? Well, maybe and maybe not. But if the accounts are true, for example, that some drugs cost a certain amount in the U.S. and a fraction
of that in Canada and maybe elsewhere, then one has to wonder just what it is that is going on.
As for the CEO's decision? Well, maybe the box moves on, and is next given to someone the CEO doesn't know.
Chronic prostatitis (age 60 on)
BPH w/ urinary obstruction, 6/2011
Ongoing high PSA, 7/2011-12/2011
Biopsy, 12/2011: positive 3/12 (90%, 70%, 5%)
Gleason 6(3+3), T1c
No mets, PCa likely still organ contained
IMRT w/ HT (Lupron), 4/2012-6/2012
PSAs (since post-IMRT): 0.1 or lower