Leaving Patients to Die–Literally

The next time you hear someone complain about Americans who don’t get needed health care, think of Great Britain, where the government has decided that cancer patients are not worth saving. Since the government controls the health care system, that means the patients, unless they are lucky enough to be wealthy, will die. Reports the Daily Mail:

Thousands of kidney cancer patients have been handed an ‘early death sentence’ under plans to ban life-extending new drugs. 

Four drugs which can offer patients extra years with their loved ones have been rejected by the Government’s rationing body because they cost too much. 

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence admits the drugs work, but says that if they are approved, patients with other diseases will have to go without.

Campaigners claim the Health Service is being plunged into the Dark Ages, as other western European countries use the drugs as standard.

Instead, NICE has limited treatment to a drug called interferon that doctors claim is ineffective for 75 per cent of patients.

Kidney specialist Tim Eisen, professor of medical oncology at the Cambridge Research Institute, said: ‘Patients here are receiving medieval treatment.

‘Together these drugs are the single greatest advance for kidney cancer patients in the last 20 years, yet I and my colleagues face the prospect of being unable to offer treatment that is absolutely standard in every other western European country.’

‘This decision will mean that the UK will have the poorest survival figures in Europe.’

The ban is the latest controversial move by NICE, which has already seen its decision-making process in restrictions on Alzheimer’s drugs successfully challenged in the High Court.

Cancer patient Jean Murphy now has access to the drug thanks to an anonymous donation

Hope: Cancer patient Jean Murphy now has access to the drug thanks to an anonymous donation

Instead doctors will be forced to offer interferon  –  a medication of such limited use that it is prescribed for just one in ten patients in some cancer units.

Trade-offs have to be made in every system, but in a nationalized system the bottom line is determined politically.  With very negative results for most people–especially cancer patients in Great Britain.