How many thousands died because the Food and Drug Administration refused to provide access to drugs that might have saved their lives?
(From The American Spectator)
It was early March 2001 when 21-year-old Abigail Burroughs was told by her oncologist that conventional options for her cancer had been exhausted. The good news was that a new drug Erbitux had a good chance to save her life.
The problem was that the Food and Drug Administration had not approved its use.
Even though weakened, Abigail, with her father Frank, and family and friends, began lobbying the drug companies; but they could do nothing without FDA approval. They petitioned Congress but even widespread and sympathetic media coverage could not budge FDA.
Like all government bureaucracies FDA had expertise but its procedures emphasized caution, with its monopoly powers allowing it to proceed at its own unhurried pace and ignore outsiders.
So Abigail died on June 9, 2001, a week and a half after doing an interview with WJLA-TV when she told host Dale Solly, “This is not just about me. I am trying to help so many others.”
Frank recounted that just hours “after the most horrible tragedy I could have ever imagined, I decided that I would continue with my efforts.” He organized Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs with few resources to lobby for others with fatal diagnoses who could not obtain treatment with drugs from government experts claiming their four stage/two-year approval process was for patients’ own good even if they expired before it was completed.