Cancer drugs and the NHS

I am getting fed up of hearing in the press every few months that a good drug has been developed and does help in a lot of circumstances, then only to find out that the NHS NICE department has deemed it too expensive to use.

How do they calculate its too  expensive to prolong a persons life, I know there is a calculation that can put a value on a life, but why is this now so routinely used, as if that person dies, what about the quality of life to his or her family for the rest of their life’s, they I presume do not take that into account when making this decision, I am sure.  Just on the person they want to give or NOT to give the drug to.

The drug cost below according to the article

“A month’s supply of abiraterone costs £2,930. Drug manufacturer Janssen agreed to make the drug available at a discounted price, but the size of the discount was “commercial in confidence,” NICE stated”

So what is the discount 10, 20, 40, 50% or more, so its still too expensive even with the discount, as the person as per the trails the person lives an average of an extra 3.9 months just by taking this drug, that 3.9 months may make all the difference to their family to have quality time together, instead of ending it sooner.

Also I have never heard of the NHS allowing a person to buy the drug for his own use (under NHS supervision of course), no you have to go private to get that drug, then the costs are more due to the “private apt with a specialist”  I know if I had a friend with that condition, I would rally around to raise that money so we can have a few more months together for everyone, to make their life a bit more bearable.  I know everyone does not have the resources to get this drug, but if you can why cannot you buy it for the NHS to be given to the patient?  if they do not have the resources, e.g. low income etc, then they should be given the drug.

However I can see people pouring cold water on this argument, as you should let the person die early, to save money, but what about the family they leave behind? are they not entitled to have a say in the matter?

So how can we change this culture so that everyone who needs the drug gets the drugs and help them have a better quality of life – suggestions on a postcard please (or email)

http://uk.health.lifestyle.yahoo.net/advanced-prostate-cancer-drug-effective-but-too-expensive-for-NHS.htm

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