Get ready for some perspective on what it's really like to be going through a tough time. Darlene Gant is dying of breast cancer. And as she told drug company Genentech in a video that's gone viral on YouTube, all she wants is one more Mother's Day with her 11-year-old son.
You don't even have to see the video. Just typing those words was so hard that I'm not surprised Genentech agreed to give Gant their new cancer drug, pertuzumab, immediately even though it's yet to get final approval from the FDA.
The drug company's decision falls under what's called compassionate use, and the FDA has signed off so the 46-year-old could begin taking the medication last week. The drug is expected to get that stamp of OK from the FDA in June, but Gant's doctors didn't think she could make it even that long. Their decision to skip that last step for her sake feels right. Who could deny a little boy a chance to spend one last Mother's Day with his mom? Who could deny a mother just a little more time with her son?
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But it's important people understand not just the bond of mother and son but the reasoning behind the decision to release the cancer drug early. Social media and viral videos are not a new way to get drugs pushed through the FDA process. If it were, that could wreak havoc on an already flawed system. People should not take this as a sign to start similar petitions for just any old drug for any old reason.
No. Darlene Gant's plea, and the resulting decision to grant her request, is that exception that proves a rule. This is very literally last chance effort, and sadly, unfortunately, it is not necessarily going to save Darlene Gant's life. But it should give her time to spend that last Mother's Day with her boy. It should give her little boy a little more time with his mom. That's the definition of having compassion, isn't it?
Here's Darlene Gant telling her own story:
If you knew a drug would give you more time but hadn't yet gotten FDA approval, what would you do?
Image via DarleneGant/YouTube