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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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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • 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'

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Socialist Party reports and campaigns

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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

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The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Pharmaceutical:

triangleVaccine confidence - a worker's response

triangleRich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

triangleCovid vaccines only first step - fight job losses, austerity and 'virus' of capitalism

triangleCovid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism

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triangleEveryone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

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triangleBrighton & Hove Socialist Party: Legalisation of drugs?

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triangleSave jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Automotive - nationalise the plant!

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triangleProtect the NHS - Funding, Pay, PPE, Public ownership

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triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Flooding, homelessness, cuts... Walthamstow needs a re-set - what's the socialist plan?

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triangleTV Review: Stateless blames mismanagement rather than system

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