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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Socialized Medicine Isn't the Answer

BLOOMBERG -- Jack Rosser's doctor says taking Pfizer's Sutent cancer drug may keep him alive long enough to see his 1-year-old daughter, Emma, enter primary school. The U.K.'s National Health Service says that's not worth the expense.

The NHS, which provides health care to all Britons and is funded by tax revenue, is spending about 100 billion pounds this fiscal year, or more than double what it spent a decade ago, as the cost of treatments increase and the population ages. The higher costs are forcing the NHS to choose between buying expensive drugs for terminal patients and providing more services for a wider number of people.

Rosser, 57, was told the cost of Sutent, 3,140 pounds ($4,650) per treatment for his advanced kidney cancer, was too high for the NHS -- the government agency that funds the nation's health care. The resident of the town of Kingswood, in southwest England, has appealed the decision twice, and next month may find out if his second plea is successful.

Rosser's wife, Jenny said "It's immoral. They are sentencing him to die. The policies seem aimed more at saving cash than treating people. It seems like a money-saving exercise. If a patient dies, tough.''

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