Is Making a Profit Worth Killing For?

by Project Censored

There is a lot of hype within the media about wanting to find a cure for cancer. We all supposedly have a common commitment to the search for this cure. But is this true when large organizations are profiting from the non-existence of a cure? These industries such as the pharmaceutical companies, the healthcare companies, and the Food and Drug Administration all make their money from the people being sick. There might never be a cure brought to the market because there just is not enough profit in getting rid of the disease completely.

An immense deal of research is concealed and numerous possible cures are ignored and discredited because there is far more money in preserving illness than in curing it. Stem cell research could be one of the best possible solutions we have in solving this problem. But organizations such as those three listed earlier will not fund something that could possibly stop their cash flow. In 2012, the reported spending on cancer treatment was 124.6 billion dollars. Statistics support that the cumulative buildup of all these different toxins in the human body eventually results in cancer in many people. First, the manufacturers and the food producers profit when we buy their poisoned goods. Then the medical system and pharmaceutical companies profit when we become ill and must fight cancer. The medical system and pharmaceutical companies profit when we become ill and must fight cancer.


Daisy Luther, “Making a Killing with Cancer: A 124.6 Billion Dollar Industry” December 9th, 2013.

Student Researcher: Cade’rae Williams, Indian River State College

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College

Student Researcher: Cade’rae Williams, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot Cohen, Indian River State College


In more ways than one many people have suffered from cancer either directly or indirectly. People who discover that they have cancer are not the only ones that have to deal with the misfortune, but also their family and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year worldwide, approximately 14 million people discover they have cancer and 8 million people die from the disease. And today more than twice as many people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Cancer is a big business and those who are profiting have great financial interest in seeing the deadly trend continue to increase. Many people believe that the cure for cancer has already been found. The question that arises is, if there is a cure for cancer, is it ethical to keep it hidden from society; and is it morally right to make a profit from it? Pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare companies all make a profit off of people who are diagnosed with cancer.

First, there is evidence to support that these industries benefit from the misfortune of people with cancer. Eleven of the 12 cancer drugs the Food and Drug Administration approved for fighting cancer in 2012 were priced at more than $100,000 per year, which doubles the average annual household income, according to a report by the Journal of National Cancer Institute. Compared to the oil companies, pharmaceutical companies are the second most profitable industry in the United States. As the cost for their medications increase people with cancer are becoming less capable of paying for their prescriptions. As a result many people are dying because they cannot get their prescribed drugs. For this reason, it is unethical for pharmaceutical companies to charge so much for their drugs.

Second, in some ways the healthcare system profits from cancer because it can offer ineffective treatments to patients who are desperate. Most of the times these treatments are only experimental and can set a patient back quite a bit. The treatments provide false hope to the patients who are naĂŻve or desperate enough to try anything. Some hospitals offer conventional treatments but also sell very uncertain, unscientific treatments to vulnerable patients, which in turn helps to boost their profits. This is unethical because hospitals are supposed to provide hope and sustain life. They are the ones that should be consistently trying to find a cure, if not already found.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that chicken meat sold in the United States contains arsenic, a cancer-causing toxic chemical that is fatal in high doses. Both the poultry industry and the FDA denied that arsenic eaten by chickens was found in their meat. The FDA prolonged its campaign of denial, claiming arsenic in chickens is at such a low level that it’s still safe to eat. This is even as the FDA says arsenic is a carcinogen, meaning it increases the risk of cancer. This is extremely unethical because it is being fed not only to animals but also to humans. Cancer cells take time to develop and many people eat chicken. Due to the low level of arsenic in the meat, it could take some years before these people develop cancer.

Furthermore, there is a growing number of people who are educating themselves about stem cell research. There is scientific evidence that supports that stem cells have the extraordinary ability to develop into various different cell types in the body. In many tissues stem cells serve as an internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells. When stem cells divide they have the potential to become another type of cell with a more particular function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Research on stem cells raises controversial ethical questions. Nevertheless, stem cell research portends the possibility of a cure for cancer and many other diseases. If there is a cure, or potential cure, for cancer, is it ethical to intentionally keep it hidden or fail to develop it; and is it morally right to do so in order to make a profit? The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are looking out for their best interest and what they can do to maximize their profit. Instead of lowering costs of medicines which prolong the life of cancer victims, they raise their prices to make a profit. Now, with these profits, they could sponsor stem cell research, which could help all of us in the long run. People could live longer and healthier lives. This should take precedence over a relatively few giant healthcare companies maximizing their bottom line at the expense of human health and happiness.