Fred Baron, the wealthy Texas trial lawyer and prominent Democratic fundraiser linked to the John Edwards mistress scandal, died yesterday at 61, theAssociated Press reports.
Baron had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, or bone marrow cancer. His death comes just two weeks after he obtained Biogen's Tysabri following a public plea by his son, Andrew, who had called the drug "last chance effort for life."
Tysabri is approved for people with multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease, but is only in the early clinical trial stage for multiple myeloma. And the decision to provide the drug came only after several prominent people, including Hillary Clinton and Lance Armstrong, intervened on his behalf. (Read the back story and the ethics questions).
That's because Biogen refused Baron access to the drug, saying the regulatory risks of giving it to him were too great. But on October 16, Andrew Baron said his father obtained Tysabri after the Mayo Clinic, working with the FDA, found a "legal basis" for its use. He did not elaborate.
It was the second time Baron made headlines in the past few months. In August, he acknowledged sending money to the former mistress of Edwards, the former Democratic presidential candidate. Baron had been the national finance chairman for Edwards' presidential campaign, and had said Edwards had no involvement with the payments. The payments were used to resettle Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress, in California.
Source: Associated Press