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Old July 14th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Red face 120,000 Brits annually die early from socialized medicine rationing

Tens of thousands of cancer victims denied drugs which could extend their lives


More than 120,000 cancer victims die early every year after being denied drugs that could have extended their lives, leading doctors are warning.



A dossier to be submitted to the Government's review of drug funding identifies 136,000 British patients a year who could benefit from 10 cancer treatments which are commonly available across Western Europe, but rarely funded by the NHS. Estimates show that fewer than 5 per cent are receiving the drugs, with many of those who get them paying privately.


The report, Paying for Cancer Care, by the oncologist Prof Karol Sikora, says demand is such that ministers must change rules that penalise desperate patients who pay for the drugs.


Treatments he examined include the bowel cancer drugs Avastin and Erbitux, which could extend the lives of 50,000 people by three to six months. The drugs have been rejected by the rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), because of costs of between £50,000 and £60,000 per patient. Two other drugs, Sutent, for advanced kidney cancer, and Tarceva, for lung cancer, which have yet to be assessed by Nice, could extend the lives of 35,000 patients for up to six months.


Fewer than 5 per cent of patients whose survival could have been lengthened by the four drugs, received them. Many of those had to pay tens of thousands of pounds to pay for the treatments.
Ian Beaumont, of the charity Bowel Cancer UK, said more patients should have access to the drugs. "These drugs can make a significant difference to length of life but it is not just about that. They can mean the difference between dying in agony or having some kind of quality of life in your last months with your loved ones."


Under current guidance on "top-up payments", patients who pay for treatments that the NHS will not fund can be forced to pay for the rest of their healthcare. Last year, Jack Rosser was diagnosed with kidney cancer and told he had two to five years to live. Mr Rosser and his wife, Jenny, were told by consultants of the existence of drugs that could prolong his survival, but which the NHS would not fund.


Last month, after tests showed the cancer had spread to his arm, the doctors nevertheless applied for the drug, Sutent, but were immediately knocked back. The couple are now waiting for a date for their appeal to be heard by South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust.
Mrs Rosser, 41, said: "We have got a little baby, Emma… every bit of extra time is precious, and we are having to spend it battling for these treatments." She said Mr Rosser, 57, had refused to let her sell their home to pay for the drug, which costs about £3,000 a month, plus the costs of NHS care.


Ministers have ordered a review of the system, which will report in the autumn.


But another oncologist, Prof Jonathan Waxman, of Imperial College Hospital, said allowing patients to buy drugs was not the answer to the crisis in funding. Instead, he said, the NHS should abolish the huge bureaucracy with 150 primary care trusts deciding which drugs should be funded, and leave decisions to individual doctors. "I have gone to meetings to decide whether a patient will get a drug or not and there are two medical doctors there and 40 health economists weighing up the odds. They call it local autonomy – for the patients being denied drugs it is more like local tyranny."

Weighing the cost of suffering

Avastin for advanced bowel cancer
Patient cost: £60,000
Number who could benefit: 17,500
Number of patients getting drug: 350
Extends survival by:
3-6 months
Status: rejected by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and Scottish Medicines Consortium

Erbitux for advanced bowel cancer
Patient cost: £50,000
Number who could benefit: 30,000
Number getting drug: 350
Extends survival by: 3-6 months
Status: rejected by Nice and the SMC

Tarceva for non-small-cell lung (NSCL) and pancreatic cancer
Patient cost: £40,000
Number who could benefit: 30,000
Patients getting drug: 15 per cent of NSCL patients; no figures for pancreatic cancer patients.
Extends survival by: 3-6 months lung; five weeks pancreatic
Status: approved for lung cancer patients by SMC, awaiting Nice ruling. Referred to neither for pancreatic cancer.

Sutent for advanced liver cancer and gastro-intestinal tumours (GIST)
Patient cost: £40,000
Number who could benefit: 5,000
Number getting drug: 16 per cent of liver cancer patients; no figures for GIST patients.
Total cost: £25million
Extends survival by: six months kidney cancer; delayed tumour progression by five months for GIST.
Status: awaiting Nice ruling for liver cancer; has not been referred for GIST. The SMC has rejected both.



Story from Telegraph News:
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Old July 14th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Re: 120,000 Brits annually die early from socialized medicine rationing

And US politicians want socialised medicine!
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Re: 120,000 Brits annually die early from socialized medicine rationing

Quote:
Originally Posted by echarcha
And US politicians want socialised medicine!
i am prepetually confused 'bout these things..dont know which 1 is the lesser evil..


with the US healthcare system the intent is to maximize profits..when you deny people insurance it translates into a bonus and climbing up the ladder for the particular employee..and when you cant deny insurance money, then it is actually termed as a "medical loss" for the health provider

infact, theres a whole list of diseases that you shouldnt have, to not have an insurance provider reject your request for coverage..like, if you have a high BMI index, diabetes, certain forms of cancer or autism some providers can refuse you coverage

people get surgery requests denied resulting in deaths and for the health industry guy who denies it, it actually secures his/her reputation and ensures continued advancement since he caused "savings" for his company..

sometimes when folks are rushed to the hospital with some emergencies, they get a bill from the insurance provider for the ambulance ride since this ambulance ride was not pre approved..well, when exactly does a person get an opportunity to pre-approve such an unexpected future occurence?

on the other hand theres socialized medicine wherein folks are doled out transportation money for rides to and from home before/after undergoing a surgery..but at the same time who knows how long they wait for a hospital bed and how good or bad are the hospital conditions? and the new (to us) horror story that you have reported today..
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Re: 120,000 Brits annually die early from socialized medicine rationing

Indian healthcare system adopts both of these approaches - for profit and socialised medicine. In India if you have the money you go to the private hospitals and doctors. If you dont, then the government run hospitals are where you have to go.

I am only concerned about socialised medicine being adopted in the USA because if the new system eliminates private doctors and for-profit hospitals then people who can afford healthcare will have to suffer because of waiting in line for the 'free' medical system. All I am saying is that people who can afford healthcare insurance should not be denied the existing for profit system.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 02:04 AM
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Re: 120,000 Brits annually die early from socialized medicine rationing

Actuallly does not Kunnaidda (Canada) also have a kind of socialzed health care. i believe this translates to lower costs for companies in terms of employees health insurance.

coming to inglistan, i find it a bit strange that people are not allowed to pay for drugs. i did find quite a few pharmacy chains (Boots plus one more i dont remember - it isover 2 years now) and clinics (alomst all run by indians)

Or may be they are rationing important drugs.
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