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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016

NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'

Nationalise the drugs companies!

photo University of Michigan/Creative Commons

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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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'

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