NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

UK Shows Problem with Government-Rationed Care

January 20, 2015

Britain's National Health Service has announced that patients will no longer have access to six breast cancer drugs: eribulin, Avastin, Kadcyla, Afinitor, Tyverb and Perjeta. Why? They're expensive, and the country says the cost is not justified.

The Daily Mail reports on the cost of the drugs. For example:  

  • Half of women given eribulin live for more than one year. The drug costs 10,000 pounds for six months of treatment.
  • In 55 countries, eribulin is considered "standard care."

Brian Joondeph, writing in the American Thinker, says that 12 percent of patients respond to eribulin and gain 2.5 months of life. But Joondeph says those numbers are misleading, because they are averages -- some women respond well to the drug, making the cost worth it.

Joondeph says the drug situation in the U.K. illustrates the problem with a government making decisions about what treatment is appropriate for patients and whether medicines are "worth it."

Source: Brian Joondeph, "Death Panels -- Alive and Well," American Thinker, January 16, 2015. 


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