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The Cost of Caution

Patients and their families were among the many who responded to "Cancer's Cruel Economics" (In Depth, June2). The story described the tensions among companies trying to get the latest drugs through clinical trials, Food & Drug Administration regulators imposing strict efficacy standards, and patients desperately needing new cancer drugs (one of which is now approved in Russia but not in the U.S.). Although some readers said the FDA must not approve unproven drugs just because distraught patients want access to them, those with cancer felt otherwise. They were especially angry about the FDA's decision last year not to approve Provenge, an experimental prostate cancer drug made by Dendreon (DNDN), despite a vote in favor of the drug by an advisory panel of experts. —Catherine Arnst

As more of us are getting cancer, we have to start being more assertive and demanding. Why is it that a promising drug is available in Russia but not the U.S.? Is it because our bureaucracy and financial interests have tied everything up in red tape? When people have terminal cancer, they are quite prepared to take risks, and they should be allowed to have access to "unproved" drugs outside of the cumbersome clinical trial system.

Screen name: Jacky Huris

Why couldn't the FDA allow interim reports of the results of [clinical] trials--reports specialists could read and evaluate? Then the patient's doctor could choose between the options, including those not formally approved by the FDA.

Screen name: Frankie62

It makes no sense to hold cancer drugs to the same standard as allergy medicines. People who have been given a death prognosis should be free to take risks.

Screen name: Cindy

Americans need to decide what they want from the FDA. We cannot demand that it only approve medications that are proven to be safe and effective and also demand that it approve drugs that do not meet those same standards.

Screen name: Jay

Try a Little Sun Tzu in the Curriculum

One core reason Western business schools have been quitting China is that they don't seem to know their customers ("China: Why Western B-Schools Are Leaving," May 26).

These B-schools teach what their professors want to teach rather than what Chinese students want to learn. If they offered a course on how the classic texts of Sun Tzu and Confucius can be applied to business, their executive MBA programs would be overflowing with Chinese students.

Fu-Tin Man


Buffalo Is Not in a Slump

"Take My House, Please" (BTW, June 2) states that Buffalo, N.Y., has been "hit hard by the real estate slump." It couldn't be further from the truth. According to the National Association of Realtors, during the first quarter of 2008, the median price for homes in the Buffalo-Niagara region were 5.5% higher than last year during the same period, ranking the region No.12 out of 156 metropolitan areas.

Andrew Rudnick

President and CEO

Buffalo Niagara Partnership


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