There is good news: Breast cancer drug approved for NHS use after price cut – but will all new treatments be equally available ?

Will all the “new treatments” heralded by the press be equally available in your part of the UK health services. Post code rationing is here and now. Good news anecdotal stories of successful treatments are irrelevant when compared with large numbers…. Dead patients don’t vote and we try to forget / ignore and deficiencies in their treatment. If we allow local rationing of cheaper services we should recognise the need for national rationing of some expensive treatments.. The worst outcome is what we have now: local covert rationing of expensive treatments…. How can we still call our system a National Health Service?


Sarah Boseley reports in The Guardian 17th December 2016: Breast cancer drug approved for NHS use after price cut

Perjeta can help shrink breast cancer tumours before patients undergo surgery to remove them

drug that can help shrink breast cancer tumours before patients undergo surgery to remove them has been approved for use in the NHS, after the manufacturer agreed a substantial discount on the list price.

Perjeta, the brand name of pertuzumab, could be helpful in the treatment of 1,400 women a year who develop a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, but it was initially turned down by Nice, the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence, because of the high price set by the manufacturer, Roche.

Nice said it was also uncertain that the drug treatment would help prevent the cancer coming back……

Chris Smyth June 1st in The Times: Doctors hail ‘spectacular’ step towards cancer cure

and May 27th Pioneering new front in war on cancer

and October 10th: New cancer drugs use body’s own defences

and December 18th 2015: NHS cost battle over cancer ‘vaccine’

16th September 2016: Immunotherapy – Scientists advance on the great goals of medicine



This entry was posted in Good News, 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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