The Equal Sharing of Misery


Under current National Health Service (NHS) regulations, if a patient chooses to purchase expensive drug treatments not covered by the government, they forfeit the right to further state-funded treatment. Allowing citizens to purchase life-extending drugs not covered by the NHS would create, says Labour Health Minister Alan Johnson, a two-tiered system favoring the wealthy. Of course, Mr. Johnson's is demanding equality of grim outcomes and preventing patients from spending their after-tax income however they see fit. This would be less of a problem if the NHS actually had the money to cover £2,200 a month cancer drugs. The (London) Times fills in the details:

The National Health Service is providing dying cancer patients with drugs that are five times less effective than those available privately and is refusing to treat them if they try to buy medicines themselves.

One drug for kidney cancer, routinely available through public health systems in most European countries but not to British patients, can reduce the size of tumours in 31% of patients, compared with just 6% of those prescribed the standard NHS drug.

The growing row over "co-payments" has prompted the government to reconsider the ban. Alan Johnson, the health secretary, has promised a "fundamental rethink" of the policy.


A former fireman who developed liver cancer after 25 years' service has been told that if he pays for the only drug that can treat his disease his NHS care will be withdrawn.

Barry Humphrey, 59, from North Walsham, Norfolk, was told by NHS doctors that the drug Nexavar was the only available treatment for his advanced liver cancer.

However, consultants at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge said the drug was not routinely funded by the NHS and told him that if he paid for it he would be billed for the rest of his NHS care.

reason on the crumbling NHS.