Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/921/23788
From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016
NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'
Nationalise the drugs companies!
photo University of Michigan/Creative Commons (Click to enlarge)
Tom Barker, Leicester Socialist Party
The unrestrained profiteering of drugs companies means the NHS could start rejecting groundbreaking treatments for cancer and dementia as "unaffordable".
A number of dementia treatments are now in late-stage trials. If one proves successful in slowing the onset of the disease, and is subsequently approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice), it will now be subject to a further affordability review by NHS chiefs.
Because Nice will have to approve the terms of restrictions as "reasonable", bosses at NHS England claim this will not mean access to life-saving medicines is denied or delayed. But Nice also has affordability at its core.
All patients are legally entitled to treatments on the NHS, provided Nice approves them as cost-effective. In practical terms, this means costing less than £30,000 for every year of good quality life a treatment provides.
The Tories plan to slash a further £22 billion from the NHS budget by 2020. It is difficult to imagine that an extra affordability review will benefit patients.
Alongside private healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry extorts vast profits from the NHS. The NHS in England spent £15.5 billion on medicines in 2014-15 - a rise of 19.4% since 2010-11.
So that they are run for human need rather than private profit, the pharmaceutical industry must be brought into public ownership under democratic workers' control and management. And NHS cuts and sell-offs must be halted and reversed.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 19 October 2016:
Socialist Party news and analysis
NHS at breaking Point
Teachers working 60 hours need strikes, not studies
Elderly care at crisis point
Health campaigns demonstrate together in 'one fight'
NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'
Them & Us
What we think
No backtracks, no compromises: we must fight for real democracy in the Labour Party
TUSC discusses new tasks after Corbyn victory
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Sheffield bin striker slams privatised refuse bosses
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Support the 'Kinsley 3' cleaners in pay fight
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Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"
Come to Socialism 2016
Can you donate to the Socialism 2016 appeal?
Cheshire and Merseyside: Huge NHS cuts and privatisation planned
Devon: Campaigning against community hospitals closures
Bristol: Millions of pounds of "horrifically unpalatable" cuts
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Moving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism
Film review: Deepwater Horizon
Review: BBC2's Poetry Night
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