“No more useful years”

Medication is becoming more and more expensive as new drugs are developed all the time.

The Government’s way of keeping the lid on the cost is to use the inappropriately named “National Institute for Clinical Excellence” – NICE – as the gatekeeper.  They are tasked with assessing the effectiveness of new drugs.  That’s a NICE thing to do, because nobody wants drugs that don’t work.

But increasingly NICE is not just a gatekeeper but also a ration book. Making decisions about whether a drug is not just effective but also cost effective and that is not so NICE.

The Government would like to see “wider social benefit” taken into account when considering whether to pay for a drug on the NHS.  This is just a back door way of making some drugs only available to people who are still economically active i.e. young enough to “contribute to society”.

Cold hearted economists in the treasury obviously didn’t take the Hippocratic oath.  You could certainly see how we will save a lot of money by not giving expensive drugs to older people who were no longer economically active.

This is a very slippery slope which is contrary to all the principles of the NHS by putting a price on useful years of life.   A harsh outcome of these times of austerity?

It has nothing to do with clinical excellence nor care excellence, but a lot to do with expedience.  Perhaps NICE should change its name.  How about:-

NASTY INSTITUTE FOR CARE EXPEDIENCE

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One Response to “No more useful years”

  1. I am in a dark Place, and cannot construct a positive reply. I realise that the economic well being of UKPLC, at this momment in time is not in a good place! However us oldies are we not the ‘guinea pigs’ for these new drug treatments? Not long term but in the short term, if these new drugs are to come to the market place?
    Maybe our particular ailments and the ‘NICE’ remidies fit together, and enhance the viabiliity of the modern drugs industry, and medical practice: There fore should we if we wish, or volunteer be given some form of preferential treatment for helping establish a reliable medical practice in the UK?
    I do not mean arsic pills for the elderly either! That is the wrong solution and an ethical question stretched beyond credibility.

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