Medical charities have urged drug regulators in Scotland to think in terms of long-term benefit before deciding which drugs are expensive and which are not.
Clara MacKay, of Breast Cancer Care Scotland cited the example of some women needing to take legal recourse for getting Herceptin, the breast cancer drug. "The perception is that those wanting Herceptin are taking away resources. They were demonized for trying to access treatment. Meanwhile the overall picture is ignored," she said.
Herceptin costs approximately Ģ20,000 per year per patient and it is estimated that only around 300 women will receive the drug after costs, which will come up to almost Ģ7.7 million. Mark Hazelwood, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, said that patients should be taken into confidence before any decisions were made.
"Patients don't see access to drugs in isolation. They see the total picture. Drug companies want to rush things through and get a patent but MS is lifelong. We need to capture health costs not just in payment but in its impact on society," he said.