Deadly Chemo-Drug Costs 4,000x More Than Gold

chemo gold19th June 2016

By Sayer Ji

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

One of the oldest marketing tricks in the book is to dramatically overprice something in order to increase its perceived value. Ironically, the less intrinsic value the commodity holds, the more effective such a tactic can be. This could explain what’s going on with one of the highest priced and most useless chemotherapy drugs on the market today.

The chemotherapy agent is known as ipilimumab (trade name YERVOY®), and costs about $120,000 for a full course of treatment. While the manufacturer advertises YERVOY® as providing tangible hope to those with non-resectable or metastatic melanoma, it also boldly warns on its website that the effects of this drug can be quite deadly:

What are the serious side effects of YERVOY?

YERVOY can cause serious side effects in many parts of the body which can lead to death. The serious side effects of YERVOY may include intestinal problems (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines; liver problems (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure; skin problems that can lead to severe skin reaction; nerve problems that can lead to paralysis; hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands); and eye problems.”

A 2015 report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that 85% of patients receiving ipilimumab had immune related adverse effects, with 35% requiring systematic corticoidsteroids and 10% anti-tumor necrosis alpha therapy, ostensibly to try to save them from the deleterious effects of the original treatment of ipilimumab. The estimated median time to treatment failure (defined as either the time to new treatment or death) was only 5.7 months.

How could a presumably “immune enhancing” drug that causes the majority to experience severeimmune-related adverse effects including death be advertised to imply that it will confer the possibility of “long-term survival”?

On Bristol-Myers Squibb’s website for YERVOY® the advertising copy reads:

Who wouldn’t want the possibility of long-term survival?

You want more than hope. With YERVOY® (ipilimumab), you have evidence.

What “evidence” supporting YERVOY’s® life-saving power are they referring to? First, let’s look at what ipilmumab actually is.

A Tumor-Derived Monoclonal Antibody For Fighting Tumors?

Ipilimumab (trade name YERVOY®) is part of a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are essentially byproducts of a very special type of cancerous growth. They are produced through creating chimeric tumors known as hybridomas. Hybridomas are made by fusing together human myeloma (a type of B-cell cancer) and rodent spleen cells. These biofactories produce monoclonal antibodies which are engineered to attach to specific biostructures/biological targets, though whether they are in actuality as specific in their effects as believed is a matter of question. One of the obvious problems with monoclonal antibodies is that, like most live biological products used to produce vaccines, hybridomas are infected with endogenous retroviruses, which could cause a wide range of health problems.

Is it any wonder that these cancer-cell derived tumors could produce secretions that could lead to harmful effects in the human body?

It is hypothesized that Yevoy supports the anti-cancer activity of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) immune system by targeting the CTLA-4 protein receptor, a protein receptor that downregulate the immune system. The theory goes that when the CTLA-4 protein receptor is deactivated through ipilimumab, CTL activity increases, producing a positive effect. This highly linear and simplistic, one cause- one effect logic, has yet to be proven in a convincing manner. One would assume that in the absence of clear proof for a plausible mechanism, the clinical outcomes would speak for themselves, and because the FDA requires placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind trials, to ascertain efficacy, that this drug would have already been found compelling. Not so.

The “Evidence” That Never Existed

What was the clinical evidence produced by the manufacturer of Yervoy (Bristol-Myers Squibb) to substantiate their claim that it produces, “the possibility of long-term survival”?

In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Medarex released three studies, one of which showed the drug was incapable of meeting its primary goal of shrinking tumors in at least 10% of the study’s 155 patients.[1]

Even more suspicious is that their phase III clinical studies did not use a true placebo or standard treatment group for their control arm. Instead, the study tested ipilmumab alone, ipilimumab with an experimental vaccine known as gp100, and the vaccine alone.

Although the patients had a slightly higher survival rate with ipilumamab alone (10 versus 6 months), it was not clear whether the experimental vaccine had caused harm, which would have made the drug alone appear to perform better by comparison. The one year survival rate was 46% in those treated with only ipilimumab, compared with 25% in those treated with gp100, and 44% for those receiving both.[2]

A more recent 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology found that ipilmumab produced no increases in survival when added to radiotherapy for melanoma brain metastasis patients, further adding to the evidence against the manufacturer’s claims the drug has been proven to do anything of value for those suffering from cancer.

Unsafe, Not Proven Effective, and 4,000x More Expensive Than Gold

Yervoy is one of the most expensive chemotherapy drugs on the market. In fact, at a 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, Dr. Leonard Saltz, chief of gastrointestinal oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discussed the high cost of cancer drugs, citing as an example the cost of ipilimumab (157.46/mg), which is “approximately 4,000 times the cost of gold.” As of 2013 the cost of treatment is approximately $120,000 for a full course.

In a previous essay titled, “Has Drug-Based Medicine Become A Form of Human Sacrifice,” I identified the cancer drug industry’s fundamentally immoral orientation toward cancer treatment, drawing parallels to financial institutions which rely on fiat currencies to accumulate vast power and control:

Turning Disease Into Gold With The Drug-Based Printing Press

Many modern diseases are, in fact, created by fiat (not unlike modern currencies): age-old symptoms of nutritional deficiency or chemical poisoning are repackaged and renamed in Latin and Greek as would-be monolithic disease entities, and subsequently rolled out to the consumer as new markets; each disease representing a veritable gold mine of “treatable” symptoms; each symptom providing justification for the prescription of a new set of patented, toxic drug-commodities.

The “medicines” themselves are often devoid of intrinsic value, being nothing more than rebranded and re-purposed chemicals, intended (though all too often failing) to be administered in sub-lethal concentrations. Indeed, many of these chemicals are too toxic to be legally released into the environment, and should never be administered intentionally to a human who is already sick. You need look no farther than a typical drug package insert to find proof that the side effects of most drugs far outnumber their purported beneficial effects.

These chemicals, in fact, are so highly leveraged against their true value (or lack thereof), that they can sell for as much as 500,000% percent from cost! Only medical/pharmaceutical and financial institutions (e.g. Federal Reserve) are legally empowered to generate the illusion that they are creating something of value out of nothing of value, on this scale. This manipulation of perceived value, which is the basis for the global dominance of the drug-based medical model, is not unlike how financial institutions created toxic derivative products (e.g. Credit Default Swaps), essentially creating the illusion of financial wellbeing and prosperity, at the very moment that they were planting the seeds of death within the global economy; ruining the lives of countless millions in the process.”

Clearly, conventional cancer treatment is not only devastatingly toxic, and may even kill the patient quicker than the cancer they are being treated for, but it can also wreak financial ruin as well.

The reality is that plenty of preliminary research indicates that safe, effective, affordable, and accessible drug alternatives for treating melanoma already exist. Because they are natural substances which do not grant patent exclusivity they will never receive the 800 million-11 billion dollars of upfront capital needed to fund the trials required to receive FDA drug approval. For research on potential natural alternatives for melanoma, use the database on the topic here. Also, learn about the true nature of cancer by exploring the role of cancer stem cells, and natural substances that have the ability to selectively kill these tumoriogenic cells without harming healthy ones.

Also, for a robust database of natural cancer interventions, including thousands of published studies and articles on the topic, please use our resource: Health Guides: Cancer Research

Article References

[1] “Top-Line Data Available from Three Ipilimumab Pivotal Trials in Patients with Advanced Metastatic Melanoma”. Medarex, Inc. 2007-12-10. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-24.

[2] “Bristol drug cuts death risk in advanced melanoma”. Reuters. 2010-06-05.

Recommended articles by Sayer Ji:

About the author:


Sayer Ji is the founder of – an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. He is on the Board of Governors for the National Health Federation and Fearless Parent, a Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. Since 2003, Sayer has also served as a patient advocate and an educator and consultant for the natural health and wellness field.

For more, visit and Facebook/GreenMedInfo, or sign up for GreenMedInfo’s free e-Newsletter.


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  • James Peters

    Keep in mind that there had been around 70 randomized trials over 30 years and none of them in that time could show improved outcomes in melanoma. However all this changed in June 2010 when the clinical trial results for ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma were presented at ASCO. The data showed a significant survival advantage for the new monoclonal antibody targeting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), a gene that limits the ability of T cells to attack cancer cells.

    The trial involved 676 patients with stage III or IV metastatic melanoma. The median overall survival (OS) was 10.1 months for ipilimumab monotherapy compared with 6.4 months for the experimental glycoprotein 100 (gp100) peptide vaccine. The one and two year survival rates with ipilimumab, 46% and 24%, were nearly double the 25% and 14% with the gp100 vaccine, which was chosen as the control because dacarbazine, despite frequent use, had never been proven superior to best supportive care in a randomized trial. Adding the gp100 vaccine to ipilimumab for some patients offered no advantage over ipilimumab monotherapy.

  • x_ray_tech

    Since it was decided that five years is the marker of “survival” in the drug/big pharma world, they claim this drug too has a “high survival rate.” And of course if you should die before the five year mark of a “side effect” that was directly caused by the drug, it goes on your death certificate that you died of whatever the side effect was (heart condition, swollen brain, etc). So they can again claim it is a successful drug and also therefore gives a higher percentage on their graph of “survival rate” and lower percentage of “death rate” than the true numbers.

    • James Peters

      There needs to be no detectable tumour on physical examination and scans like MRI, or on other imaging, such as CT and/or bone scans and so on, this is referred to as NED (no evidence of disease). Medicine doesn’t consider patients cured at five years. Most use the ten year survival mark, because a number of different types of cancer, particularly estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, can recur later Also, when an oncologist uses survival for five years as a surrogate for cure, it is assumed that the cancer has been treated and there is no detectable disease in the patient. Survival rates are tracked at the 1, 5 and 10 years marks.

      As for this drug (ipilimumab) then the entire course of treatment is just four infusions each of which is given three weeks apart. In the Phase III study it showed a median overall survival improvement of around 4 months. In the long-term follow up then 20-25% lived long-term The longest surviving patient is still alive after 12 years (NED) and she originally had mets to her liver and lung before she was treated with this drug in a trial of it. On average, the elimination half-life of ipilimumab is 14.7 days which means side-effects could still happen up to a month after this is given and some could be delayed. However most would happen when this is being given and will be treated accordingly. So in other words there are no long-term side-effects that I know of.