Tysabri, the medicine I get by IV once a month for MS, has been linked to a number of cases of a devastating, and usually fatal, brain infection again. This is why it was pulled off the market originally in 2004 before being reintroduced last year, http://tinyurl.com/5turuy
Right before the new reports came out, high level Biogen executives (the manufacturer of Tysabri), began dumping their stock:
…just like the last time:
“The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a settled enforcement action today in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, charging Thomas J. Bucknum with insider trading in the stock of Biogen Idec Inc., a biotechnology company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bucknum was Biogen’s general counsel until he resigned in March 2005…
…To settle the Commission’s charges, Bucknum has consented, without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s complaint, to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from committing future violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 there under. Bucknum also has agreed to pay disgorgement in the amount of $1,938,465, pre-judgment interest thereon in the amount of $102,005, and a civil penalty of $969,232, for a total payment of $3,009,720. Finally, Bucknum will be prohibited from acting as an officer or director of any publicly-traded company for a period of five (5) years from the date of the entry of the judgment.”
(The whole press release, dated 1/12/06, is here, http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr19528.htm)
Here are two things that I would have done instead to make the punishment fit the crime:
First, I would create a foundation and have that $3,000,000 put into a trust fund to financially support people with MS in need. Not look for a cure or bullshit like that, but putting the money where it really will make a difference in the here and now.
Second, I would require Mr. Bucknum to receive a monthly infusion of Tysabri for the rest of his natural life. Whatever would be left of it after being on this dangerous medication. And hopefully he would worry about it constantly.
Judge Judy has nothing on me.
The Tysabri web site has a banner slogan that says “CELEBRATING 2 YEARS OF HOPE.” I think the subtext, in such small print you can only read it if you are an officer of the company, says “…hope that none of these losers dies before we can maximize our profits. Ha ha ha!”
Tysabri is a medicine of last resort for people like me, who just kept getting sicker on other MS medicines.
It enrages me that these people are making a [probably illegal] profit while every month I have to weigh the possibility of a quick horrible death from PML against a slow horrible death from MS.
The MS Society has a political action committee, but it won’t touch something like this because they are in bed with all the drug manufacturers.
What I want to do is inform as many people as possible. Maybe I can put some heat on Biogen, the greedy little dicks. Maybe by the world knowing what scum they are it will hit them where their only interest is: in their bank accounts.
There are twelve suspected cases of PML now. There were three the last time. It is a known risk because Tysabri makes the blood/brain barrier more permeable, increasing the chances of opportunistic infections like PML. Not to be melodramatic (oh, hell, ok, I’ll be melodramatic; let’s be real, there’s nothing I like better!) but that is what most people with MS die from, opportunistic infections. Pneumonias because we can’t clear our lungs, septicemia from pressure ulcers because we can’t move around or feel our skin breaking down, kidney damage from all the IV Solumedrol, stuff like that. Tysabri is an immunosuppressant, so I am at risk for all kinds of ick that normally would be no issue at all.
You may have read that MS is not fatal. But I think a fatal condition that I develop because I have MS definitely qualifies MS as the cause of death.
Not that I’ve done a lot of thinking about it or anything. lol
I will stay on Tysabri as long as I can. Or, as my neurologist put it, “Until something better comes along.” But every month I get that sliver of fear, is this the time when I am going to get struck by this lightning?
The makers of Tysabri obviously have the same concern, but for a far different reason.