Drug trails: how much obligation ha the state to support unproven treatments?

A recent “about turn” by government and politicians on an important issue reveals the lack of clear thinking in their circles. It also leads NHSreality to ask “how much obligation has the state to support unproven treatments?” NHS choices tells patients about the different phases of drug trials. Is it all these phases which the state will help with, or just phase 3/4? Of course we have not had sight of the letter sent to London PCTs, but it is referred to in the Western Daily Press 29th November 2014: NHS England: Funding cut for drug trial patients was incorrect information.

I suspect the original letter makes very good sense, but it is a tacit admission of rationing. Therefore it is politically unacceptable. After all, these are unproven treatments, and the profit from them, if successful in trial, will go to private companies. If successful, as with other new treatments, the state will not fund them until at or near the date when their patent expires. Note: The U-turn described by Hugh Pym only applies to England..

On 29th October BBC news reported: Cancer Drugs Fund ‘papers over cracks’, says charity and then on 29th November Hugh Pym reported on BBC News:  NHS ‘U-turn’ over drug trial money

NHS says no to breast cancer drug 08 AUGUST 2014, HEALTH
Leukaemia clue in breast cancer 27 JUNE 2014, HEALTH


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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