Open Letter to Pfizer

To Albert Bourla and the board of Pfizer
235 East 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

I imagine you receive quite a volume of communication worldwide, ranging from advice to demands regarding where to direct your business, how to develop it, and (depending on the caffeination level of the author) where to shove it.

I know nothing about your business and its massively complicated nature with regards to production across multiple continents, handling various unions, national governments, cultures, and needs. I don’t know what goes into producing a new medication and I’m clueless on their vetting processes. I can’t say how much I have spent on your products or how much has been spent on my behalf, but I’m certain it’s staggering.

Mostly, what I know about you is that I am raising a child who is surviving because of a drug you manufacture.

Twenty-one months ago, my son was diagnosed with Leukemia. In that time, he has received Vincristine as a staple in the two different hospitals where he has been treated. He is in remission and we are thrilled to think he may actually survive us. We were understandably floored when we discovered that Teva, the only other producer of Vincristine has closed up shop in its production efforts. As I said, I don’t know how you guys do business. I read a little about their woes with regards to losing money in the generics market. I understand that you cannot run a business if the entire thing goes under and you can’t pay your people.

It is also very difficult to raise your children when cancer has killed them.

I am not fearful to a great extent for my own child. He is, as I said, in remission. He can limp by without too much risk if you keep up with your current manufacturing goals. There are so many more children who need this drug because they have just begun this terrifying journey. There are so many children who have bright futures, if they can just survive this biological injustice going on inside of themselves.

I know there are people who will write angry letters telling you how terrible you are and how horribly raised you were. Those folks like to say angry and dangerous things. They make you glad you have the high priced protection that safeguards the lives of your executives. They are also mostly harmless as they are afraid people just trying to empower themselves.

There are the dangerous quiet ones waiting to snap who actually justify the personal security you have around yourselves.

Then there’s the group I represent and on whose behalf I write. We don’t get involved in causes. We don’t march or chant. Some Saturdays we barely even have the energy to put on fresh underwear. Because we’re parents and it’s hard work. We just want our kids to grow up to be good people. We’re trying as hard as we can and the average 19,000 of us every year who discover our children have cancer are gut punched in our work. And so we bring our children to doctors who rely on you to supply them with the various medications to treat and battle these cancers. They are running perilously short and can’t do their jobs without it. There’s only so much that bedside manner and optimism can carry.

We plead with you to consider increasing your production of Vincristine to meet the national demands. I’m certain the need is worldwide, so it must be a task most herculean. I don’t confess to know what it takes with regards to capital and resourcing to even consider a 1% increase. I don’t even know how much you have to increase at all. All I know is that your work is needed to do more than enrich stock holders. The world needs you to help its children survive until tomorrow.

I wish you success and clean consciences, and a good nights sleep.

Damien Marts
Keller, TX

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