Many countries are considering ways to prevent the expensive new patented drugs coming to market quickly. Every year delayed saves money, and the closer to loss of patent the greater the saving. There is a dissonance here. Individuals, their physicians, and of course drug companies, want all the drugs possible, but governments are concerned with populations and their investment should not be in new treatments for rare conditions they cannot afford.. Overt rationing on cost alone would be honest, but would create a health divide amongst individuals: something government has a duty to avoid? We already know that the gini coefficient (wealth inequality) enumerates the wealth divide: do we need another coefficient for the health divide? It is becoming evident that we need tiered rationing according to means.. But the 8p suggestion will never happen because of the politicians. Any one who endorses it will lose their seat..
John Crowley in the Observer 3rd Jan 2017 reports: The US Has Slowed the Pace of Drug Approval and It’s Costing Lives – Rare Disease Day Offers Great Chance to Revisit Promise of Orphan Drug Act
More than 30,000,000 Americans live with any one of over 7,000 rare and often devastating genetic diseases. This week, in observance of the 10th Anniversary of Rare Disease Day, millions of people around the world will meet with policymakers, hold events and use social media to raise awareness about the impact rare genetic diseases have on people’s live. The slogan for this year’s campaign is “with research, possibilities are limitless.”…..
Laura Donelly in the Telegraph 15th March 2017 reports: Drugs costing 8p a day could be hit by ‘devastating’ NHS rationing plan
Drugs costing just eight pence a day could be denied to NHS patients under “devastating” new rationing plans, charities have warned.
Under the plans, health officials will be able to delay introducing life-extending treatments for up to three years, after they have been found to be effective.
The cap is likely to affect one in five new treatments, with cheap drugs which could help large numbers of patients affected, as well as high cost drugs.
Ben Hirschier of Reuters reports 15th March 2015: New UK drug cost rules leave companies fuming
British drugmakers on Wednesday accused Theresa May’s Conservative government of breaking a manifesto commitment to improve access to new medicines, following approval of new cost rules that take effect on April 1.
The angry response from both Big Pharma and biotech firms comes despite a concession by government in the latest version of the scheme, which increases the cost threshold for certain drugs for rare diseases from the previously planned level.
Some charities, including the Alzheimer’s Society, also expressed concern that the measures could mean delays for people with serious conditions in getting new treatments.
The row comes at a sensitive time for the government, which is about to trigger proceedings to leave the European Union but wants to encourage investment by strategic industries, including the high-tech pharmaceuticals sector.
Drug companies are already concerned that Brexit could make Britain a less attractive market, especially if the country ends up outside the current EU-wide system for drug licensing.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which determines the cost-effectiveness of new drugs, and NHS England say their new procedures will fast-track the availability of drugs that offer exceptional value.
But drug industry executives believe few, if any, new medicines will actually benefit from this provision and the overall impact of the changes will be outweighed by newly introduced budget curbs.
“Today’s proposals from NICE/NHS England break the Conservative Party’s 2015 manifesto promise to speed up the introduction of cost-effective medicines into the NHS,” said Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
The new system means that new drugs costing the National Health Service (NHS) more than 20 million pounds ($24 million) a year will no longer be automatically funded, even if they are cost-effective. Instead, companies will have to enter negotiations to justify their use and work out funding.
Alzheimer’s Society CEO Jeremy Hughes said any new drug to help all 850,000 people with dementia in Britain would have to cost just 23.50 pounds a year to fit the threshold.
Similar limitations will apply to drugs for very rare diseases that cost more than 300,000 pounds for each year of high quality life delivered.
Previously, the proposed a cap for rare diseases had been 100,000 pounds but NICE CEO Andrew Dillon said the authorities had revised the plan after listening to feedback.
Even at the higher level, drugmakers argue the introduction of cost caps for medicines treating a handful of patients would be damaging and could threaten the flow of new medicines.
Significantly, the new rules apply only to England, leaving a different system in place for Scotland.
“They will build a Hadrian’s Wall for English patients who will no longer be able to access innovative new treatments that will continue to be available in Scotland,” said Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
NHSreality wants scapegoats – and suggests the successive ministers of health (for England). Allyson Pollock might agree..
Tell Wales it isn’t working. Inequality is increasing…. better to “aspire to excellence”.