The new and proposed “affordability test”: Drug rationing will devastate lives, charities warn

Politicians should not  forget that, whilst new drugs do save individual lives, they do not (usually) affect populations. An exception is the potential of Statins in preventing heart disease. Most cancer drugs are low volume and therefore high cost…. Sometimes it is reasonable to restrict access, such as hyperbaric oxygen for MS.

Chris Smyth reports in the Times 31st October 2016: Drug rationing will devastate lives, charities warn

People with cancer and dementia will be denied treatment by “devastating” changes which put cost cutting before patients, charities have warned.

Campaigners predict a bleak future as health chiefs prepare to impose tight restrictions on expensive new drugs even if they are cost effective.

Britain will fall further behind the rest of Europe in giving patients life-saving treatments if there is not a rethink of plans that amount to “rationing pure and simple”, charity leaders say. They are responding to plans, revealed by The Times this month, to give NHS England the power to restrict or delay treatments that cost more than £20 million a year.

Bosses believe this will stop other services having to be cut to pay for the medicines, while putting pressure on drug companies to lower prices.

All drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) will be subjected to an extra affordability test.

Andrew Haldenby would probably disagree: Giving more money to the NHS is the worst possible idea – It would undermine reforms and give a signal that the pressure is off (October 31st in The Times)

Mark Flannaghan warned on 16th May and backed this up with a letter in the Times 31st October 2016: Leading cancer charities call on PM to reform ‘outdated’ NICE drug appraisal process – Experts warn that without wider NICE reform, many effective cancer medicines will not be available to patients in the future.

Mr Haldenby needs to come clean on whether cancer drugs should be rationed, and if so how.

New drugs to face NHS affordability test – The Multiple Sclerosis Society is rightly worried.



This entry was posted in A Personal View, 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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