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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Here's why I hate government healthcare

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has come to the decision that the asthma drug Xolair (Omalizumab) will no longer be available to children under the age of 12. This decision does not come without some controversy.

Xolair is a very expensive medicine, yet it is a great option for those asthmatics who do not respond well to other asthma therapies. It's an option for those asthmatics with hard luck asthma.

According to the, "Asthma drug denied to young children" article notes that, "According to Wikipedia, Omalizumab (trade name Xolair) is a humanized antibody drug for patients with moderate-to-severe or severe allergic asthma, which is caused by hypersensitivity reactions to certain harmless environmental substances."

Likewise, "Like other protein and antibody drugs, Omalizumab causes anaphylaxis (a life-threatening systemic allergic reaction) in 1 to 2 patients per 1,000."

NICE responded to the "backlash" from physicians and concerned patients by noting that the cost of the medicine, and the risks, and studies that show Xolair is not effective for a large number of patients who try it, makes the medicine not worth the risk.

Yet why not let the patient and physician make that decision. If someone has asthma so bad it effects the quality of his life, and Xolair is an option, why not keep it as an option? Let the patient, and the patient's family choose. It's an individual right.

Yes, I am a believer in individual rights, as opposed to a government agency making a decision for the person. When a group of experts makes the decision, they are essentially implying they know what's best for everyone.

Respectfully disagree if you wish.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

As far as I can tell, NICE is applying evidence based medicine to what they will pay for, which is a good thing right?

I have a problem with this only if patients cannot elect to pay for the Rx on their own with the consent of their PMD. (nb: I'm not well versed in the NHS model in the UK.)

In general, Health Insurance of any kind, especially public funded, should base its payments on EBM supported treatments. Vary premiums for patients who wish to deviate from guidelines. I can't see insurance working any other way and still be fair AND solvent.