Speaking of putting costs over care …by Staff on January 18, 2011
The latest salvo in governments denying access to live-saving drugs for cancer patients comes from (of course) the United Kingdom. Here’s the headline in the UK Daily Express: “Disgrace as Scots Patients Denied Drug for Liver Cancer.”
You may have followed — or been a part of — the arduous fights put up by our kidney cancer patients in England to win access to Sutent. For too long, the British government denied kidney cancer patients access to this gold-standard drug because it was considered too expensive.
Now the UK is blocking access to Nexavar for liver cancer patients. We should all consider the fact that Nexavar is also a key drug in the fight against kidney cancer. And while the United States hasn’t blocked access to Nexavar at this time, you are seeing an echo effect of steps by other governments resounding here in the United States. Consider recent news about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pondering whether to deny access to Provenge for prostrate cancer. (A ruling is expected in the Spring.) Or the Federal Drug Administration recommendation to revoke access to Avastin (also a kidney cancer drug) for breast cancer patients.
Government officials deny that these alarming steps were motivated by costs.