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Extreme Prevarication (or the Price of Life) 9 February 2006

Posted by Dr Moose in Uncategorized.

(Category: life, faith)

There has been a trend of late to find stories in the national press about the availability and cost of anti-cancer drugs.

So here’s another one. A man (from Kent, but not MLPK) wants the NHS to pay for his anti-cancer treatment- a single tablet at £70 a day. The drug has not yet been cleared for this, and he is concerned about having to lose his house to pay for it.

So, I’ll ask for the first time: what price a life?

But the story continues. The man is suffering from lung cancer, and not a young man. He was diagnosed two years ago.

So, I’ll ask for the second time: what price a life?

But this is the part that got me thinking. A spokesman for the drug manufacturer is quoted as saying “Tarceva can slow the progression of cancer, but cannot stop it. It can increase life expectancy by two months or longer.”

Now, without trying to be too polemical, you’re telling me that a man (who by implication is retired), is trying to get state funding to prolong his life by, at a minimum, two months?

I know that we will all die, and that for many this is a cause of tremendous fear, but even so.

So, I’ll ask for the third time: what price a life?

And, of course, what would each one of us do if we were in his shoes? And what would Jesus have us do, too?



1. John - 9 February 2006

These are hard questions you ask, but here’s another one: who prescribed this drug? NHS doctors aren’t allowed to prescribe drugs that aren’t approved in this country. This drug is at a halfway house (licensed for sale but not approved for use by NICE), which still makes me wonder why this man “has” to take Tarceva. If he’s self-medicating, I see no reason why the NHS should pay. If he was prescribed the drug by a private doctor, why can he afford that but not the drugs? If he was, in fact, prescribed it by an NHS doctor, why did this happen, and should the doctor not prescribed something that’s actually available?

All good stimulating stuff, though!

pax et bonum

2. Kathryn - 10 February 2006

Hmmn. Convoluted havering begins here.
The trouble is that there is probably no-one whom the man trusts to talk him through all this…to face the fact that 2 months longer may not be worth all he is investing in it (emotionally…if not financially). If he believes his life is being undervalued by the NHS, a fight is understandable…If he is terrified of death, that is so sad, but not uncommon. If he has a particular goal in view, 6 weeks down the line, who knows? I’m more than a little perplexed by all this…Have a look, if you’ve time, at http://www.moreena.blogspot.com. “Falling Down is also a gift”.
In Chicago, a little girl called Annika has had 2 liver transplants, and may need a 3rd. Her life has been on the line for so long now…and her parents’ health insurance may just have run out. Having shared vicariously in her families struggles for months now, I couldn’t make a decision in this case…though Moreena, her mum, began to wonder if she might have to. I guess all we can do is pray.For wisdom and healing,where it is most needed, and that there may be the right people beside each person who walks through the shadows, so that they may find the way to be one that leads directly home.

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