publication date: Feb. 21, 2020
Trump grants clemency to Michael Milken, financier whose ideas brought new money & swagger into cancer politics, research
By Paul Goldberg
Explaining his decision to grant clemency to the financier Michael Milken, President Trump spoke thus:
“We have Mike Milken, who’s gone around and done an incredible job for the world, with all of his research on cancer, and he’s done this, and he suffered greatly. He paid a big price; paid a very tough price. But he’s done an incredible job.”
Milken, 73, is an outsized, polarizing figure, but regardless of whether you are a detractor or an admirer, intellectual honesty dictates acknowledging his key role in setting a more aggressive pace in cancer research over the past quarter-century.
A reporter on deadline can’t be expected to put a number on Milken’s contributions, but the total would have to reflect at least these three components:
The first is the actual financial contributions Milken has made to the field. The second is the money he raised by tapping his rich friends to contribute to cancer research. Items one and two surely add up to hundreds of millions.
But the largest and hardest-to-calculate contribution stems from Milken having changed the trajectory of government funding of cancer research. This third component would arguably have to include the doubling of the NIH budget in the 1990s. Milken’s influence on the culture of oncology could also be credited, at least in part, with recent “moonshots” and the 21st Century Cures legislation.
The language of the cures and things in space, which was present since the run-up to the National Cancer Act of 1971, was revived by Milken.
To understand Milken’s transformative … Continue reading Trump grants clemency to Michael Milken, financier whose ideas brought new money & swagger into cancer politics, research
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