Cheap, effective treatments for cancer already exist, so why don’t you know about them?

This effort at drug repurposing (of drugs that have gone off patent, i.e. generic) by a nonprofit group called:

Reminds me a lot of the situation with generic drugs that may be great candidates for longevity drugs… like rapamycin. Perhaps we need to start a group that is similar to this group, but focused exclusively on longevity drugs?

See this recent article on their website (also published in the Boston Globe recently).

By Laura Kleiman, PhD, Founder and CEO of Reboot Rx

Originally published as an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe on December 27, 2023

The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency recently approved anastrozole as a treatment for preventing breast cancer in postmenopausal women at medium or high risk of being diagnosed with the disease. Now doctors in the UK can offer this effective preventive option to thousands of women. But as STAT reported, here in the United States, few women may be aware of its availability, much less that it’s a cheap generic drug already FDA approved and in use for treating breast cancer.

This begs the question: Why might women in the United States be unaware of anastrozole as a preventative treatment? It may come down to the lack of marketing for generic drugs. In the United States, doctors and patients are often educated and influenced about new drugs by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and sell them. Certainly, the results of clinical trials that are published in medical journals and presented at industry conferences help alert doctors of ongoing research and new drug developments. In addition, pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars to market their latest discoveries and influence prescribing. They do this according to strict calculations on projected return on investment and opportunity cost.

Once a drug becomes generic — which means the patents and marketing exclusivities have expired — the drug can be manufactured and sold by any company. The price drops significantly because the supply is larger, and drug companies no longer want to invest the money to market them. Anastrozole was initially FDA approved in 1995 for treating breast cancer. When the patent and marketing exclusivity expired in 2010, other companies started selling generic versions. This competition in the marketplace drove down the cost; anastrozole can now be purchased for as little as $100 for a one-year supply without insurance. It is not financially lucrative for pharmaceutical companies to repurpose generic drugs like anastrozole, expanding their uses for other indications or patient populations, because there might be only a small profit to be made.

Full article here:


Drug repurposing indeed suffers from a lack of financial incentives. The EU wants to create a scheme to support the repurposing of generics for unmet medical needs (cancer, AD, PD, rare diseases, etc.). Here’s our position paper on the issue: EU Pharma Directive & Regulation Drug repurposing incentives - Google Docs

Feedback welcome! And if anyone wants to join our effort or expand it to another jurisdiction (UK, US, Australia, etc.): let me know :slight_smile: