Held hostage by big pharma

Price of Experience cover_0In an extract from his forthcoming new book (which can be ordered here) Mike Marqusee slams the drug companies exploiting his cancer to gouge the public purse.

In recent months, I’ve been taking a medication called Revlimid, given as a “late therapy” for multiple myeloma. Since it looks like I may be Revlimid-dependent for a while, I decided to educate myself about the drug. As the chemistry is beyond me, I focused my attention elsewhere.

The first thing I discovered was that Revlimid is phenomenally expensive.

A single twenty-one-day cycle of treatment at the lowest dose of 5 mg daily costs the NHS £3,570. As the dose rises, so does the price: for a single twenty-one-day cycle at the high dose of 25 mg, it’s £4,318. The increment is small because the costs of actually manufacturing the drug are minimal. But whatever it is that we’re paying for, we’re paying for it through the nose: between £42,000 and £51,000 per patient for a year’s treatment. This is a treatment we need, and to which we have a right. That does not, however, mean that its cost should be taken for granted. Continue reading

Denying treatment to those most in need

Pills1 The warnings that the Coalition Government’s NHS reforms would be bad for patients are sadly beginning to come to fruition. We have seen nursing job cuts, an A&E crisis, and hospital waiting times beginning to rise. There are terrible stories in the press of ambulances being delayed and police cars being used to transport people to hospital. Last week I raised my concerns about the leaked document which outlined Government proposals to close three quarters of Britain’s specialist brain cancer centres, including seven in the North of England. Continue reading