Maybe they kept you away from the clinical side of things, but a 19% response rate in no way equates to ”a drug that can extend your life by 19%”. For a start.
And I’d challenge anyone to look me in the eye and tell me that giving me a good two years with minimal side effects wasn’t worth whatever it cost the state. I’m in my 30s. In that two years, I got married, travelled to Iceland, saw the Northern Lights, enjoyed two more Christmases, two more birthdays, laughed, loved. The next drug I try might not work for me. Or I might get another two years. Maybe more. The drug that worked for two years for me sometimes works for way longer. Some people get five years out of it.
With cancer drugs, doctors don’t know if they will work for the individual in front of them. But they have to try because it will or it won’t and if it will, that patient could buy some serious time. If I was denied drugs due to not having health insurance, I probably would have been dead six months out from diagnosis. But I’m now approaching the fourth anniversary of my diagnosis.
And it’s not just an issue of patients being given generics rather than the brand name. If it’s a new drug, the brand name will be the only one that exists.
As for why I didn’t have health insurance. The arrogance of youth. Who expects to develop terminal cancer in their 20s? Especially a cancer with a median diagnosis age of about 60.