I read with interest this article in the Age today regarding the drug Avastin and it's use for metastatic cancer patients.
So far, it has been approved on the PBS for colon and lung cancer, but not other types of cancer.
Now, of course, there is a reason that drugs take time to appear on the PBS - it must be proven (and should be proven) that they are beneficial for the condition they are treating, but I do find one or two things about this concerning:
This first is that there doesn't seem any urgency or pressure from anyone to establish in a timely fashion if there are other applications - in other words, other cancers or conditions - that this medication could or should be subsidised for.
Secondly - and I think this is most important - there needs to be more pressure on the drug manufacturers to drop the exhorbitant prices of these medications.
The argument is that these companies must, somehow, recoup the cost of developing the drugs they market, and these costs are passed on to the consumer.
Which would be fine, if the consumer wasn't a patient. Whose life may depend on access to that drug. And as far as I'm concerned, it is despicable that anyone, anywhere would first think about cost when determining what medical treatment is most appropriate for a life-threatening illness. The very idea makes me somewhat ill.
These drug companies are not short of a dollar. They receive, on top of the disgusting amounts they charge patients for medication, grants from the government.
If anyone should be crying poor, it sure as hell isn't the drug companies.
3 days ago