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Cancer Care Compromised by Cost

by Monisha on  November 24, 2006 at 2:41 PM Cancer News   - G J E 4
Cancer Care Compromised by Cost
A team of researchers has recommended that, in order to implement better cancer care to patients certain reforms have to be mustered immediately. Their views were published in the British Medical journal. The team of researchers opined that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) should amend some of their modes of action, in order to cater to the immediate needs of cancer patients. More planning is essential to ensure that those battling with cancer shall be assured supply of life saving drugs through the NHS.
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Last August NICE, had pointed that unless local Trusts mobilized funds, they would be unable to cover the entire costs of drugs like Herceptin to patients. Herceptin is a drug that can fight cancer by targeting a protein, the HER2 protein, which can trigger off tumors. Almost 20% of breast cancers are noted to be HER2 positive. NICE has ruled that, all breast cancer patients that are HER2 would benefit from treatment with Herpecitin following chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy. However following this ruling, no move has been made by NICE to indicate where the extra funds should be recovered from. Unless federal funds are released, cancer patient who cannot afford the treatment cannot get the benefits.

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Doctors from Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust studied the data linked to the bulk of cancer patients receiving treatment at their hospital. Their findings show that 1.9 million pounds are required to make the drug Herpecitin available to all patients who need the drug. Costs cannot be contained with the treatment alone. The projected expense can be covered only if the equally important palliative care or chemotherapy is done away with, they concluded.

There is no conclusive data that shows that there are any long term benefits that the drug Herpecetin, promises except that it is the drug of choice at this moment. That is not a reliable reason to deny patients conventional treatment and switch over to Herpecitin, which is not cost effective either, say doctors.

Doctors who were part of the study opine that, in an ideal situation the government should back up their decision by providing the source of funding for newer drugs. Suggestions have been framed, urging the Department of Health to keep aside money to fund NICE.

Source: Medindia
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