Fred Baron, the prominent Democratic Party fundraiser, died Thursday after a high-profile effort to obtain Biogen Idec and Elan’s natalizumab (Tysabri) to save his life from an aggressive cancer, according to this report from the Associated Press.
Baron, 61, received help more than two weeks ago from a group of friends including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and cyclist Lance Armstrong. They all urged Biogen to give him the drug approved for treating multiple sclerosis on an experimental basis for use against his disease, a bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. The company refused, saying that giving him the drug outside the controlled setting of a clinical trial or a commercial monitoring program posed risks that might jeopardize the access of thousands of other patients who depend on the medicine.
Baron ultimately got the drug anyway on Oct. 16, after the FDA reached an agreement with the Mayo Clinic, where Baron was being treated. The Baron family, in a statement cited by the AP today, said, “Fred’s life was too short but he lived it to the fullest. We will miss his spontaneous smile, his good humor, his sharp mind and his loving heart.”