The Price of an NICE English Postcode

The postcode lottery strikes again.

One of the advatages of devolution for Scots is that they may no longer be tied to England for the worst cancer survival rates in Western Europe. The approval of drugs available on the NHS is down to the Scottish Medicines Consortium. England and Wales is governed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The Scots have approved the use of cetuximab and docetaxel for head and neck cancer. Drug trials have shown that cetuximab (also know by the brand name Erbitux) plus radiotherapy survive for an average of just over 4 years, compared with less than two and a half years for those treated with radiation alone. Nice says it costs too much for what you get. Tough luck.

As I mentioned back in January, Erbitux has already been rejected by NICE for use in bowel cancer. It seems that Nice and the NHS have found a good way to keep the socialised medicine fiscally viable. All you have to do is let all the cancer patients die off and there are fewer people putting a drain on resources.

When I hear about how much more compassionate enlightened British socialism is when compared with the big bad USA, I just think of all the people here who die due to rationed health care. And if you are in the US, remember that this is what Hillary wants for you, too.

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