November 17th 2006, 14:50
For such a haven of faceless bureaucrats, NICE has suddenly become the hate figure of the UK. NICE - or the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - is the gatekeeper of the National Health Service, and it is the ultimate arbiter of the drugs that are prescribed by doctors.
Sometimes drugs are turned down on grounds of cost, sometimes because they just don't work. For the drug company, a rejection is nothing less than a commercial disaster, especially if the drug concerned is a pioneering one that would have cost at least lb150m to get approved.
November 16th 2006, 17:22
Most agree that the American health model is in meltdown. Driven by insurance money, surgeons perform too many unnecessary operations while doctors dispense too many unnecessary drugs. Not only does this aggressively interventionist approach keep medical costs high, it also means others wait longer to get on the medical merry-go-round.
Not content that the model is plain wrong, health officals in the USA want to export something similar to the UK. The US's deputy health secretary Alex Azar is lobbying the UK government to allow America's drug companies unlimited access to the National Health Service (which, in case I'm accused of bias, also doesn't work well).
November 16th 2006, 17:13
Welcome! This is a Blog by Bryan Hubbard, of What Doctors Don't Tell You, and I promise to write frequently, and especially if I'm so moved by something nasty, dramatic or plain daft that happens in medicine (so that means I'll be writing around every 4 minutes).
And, in the tradition of blogdom, I want to hear from you, too. Are my snarls and groans justified? Have I gone over the top? Have I got the even vision of a Nelson? Better yet, has the column struck a chord? Do you have any personal experiences that can add colour to the rants?