How much is a life worth? Are High Drug Costs Justifiable? January 3, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – $500,000 per year for a drug?   For one patient?  Does that make sense to anyone other than the drug company and their share holders?

An Ontario man is fighting for his life.   He has a rare blood condition that is fatal.   Soliris is a US made drug that would save this person’s life.   He would essentially have to be on it for life.

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“Your government is forcing patients to wait until their health has deteriorated to such a critical state that the treating hospital must scramble to find funding within their budgets to provide the first infusions of Soliris in an effort to save their lives.”

That’s an awful lot of hospital beds and procedures when you multiply it by the 75-100 people that need this drug to survive.   My question is why on earth should any drug cost that much?

Yes it costs a lot of money to research and discover drugs, but at what point is enough enough?  Where is the balance of what makes sense and what is simply corporate greed or the ability to force people to die?

We face many questions around the world when it comes to health care.   Governments complain about how much of the budget is eaten up by health care costs.   Maybe it’s time to truly nationalize healthcare and reform medicare as we know it rather than simply succumb to lobbying of drug companies and insurance companies here in Canada?

Corporations write off the cost of research as an expense against earnings.   They then charge whatever they can to the market which chiefly is governments; at least here in Canada.

Here in Ontario last year the Provincial government told the drug companies and pharmacists that it was slashing the price they can charge for generics by 25% and eliminating some of the “perks” paid to pharmacists.   That resulted in a lot of gnashing of the teeth and the drug companies playing hardball with shortages of some drugs “occurring” but at the end of the day how long was our healthcare system supporting these extra billions.

How much is a life worth?   Good question, huh?   Should we have a cap on how much each of us can have spent on us in health care dollars and if so should we have a say?    Will people ultimately die because of the high cost of saving their lives?

I’m 46.  As a child we all had general practioners and preventative care was more focused on.

Our system today is massed emergency wards, which cost more to run and are chronically understaffed to the point where infectious and deadly diseases impact those that go there for help and work there.   We seem to only treat people at stages that simply cost a lot to treat or lead to higher fatality rates.

What are we doing to ourselves systemically?   Do we not get to vote and do we not get to have our politicians work hard for what we want?  Is it governments fault or our own for simply not making sure our public servants focus on important issues like healthcare.

In Quebec there are reports of Cancer patients being denied drugs.

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“Truly, they are not thinking of the patient first but the budget,” said Blais, who accuses the Conseil du medicament of “systematically refusing” the latest generation of anti-cancer drugs.

“Sometimes we get the impression that the Conseil is acting as if it had received a ministerial directive to recommend the fewest number of medications possible in order to manage a budget of X amount.”

France recently is facing a scandal over public drug policy.

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Despite repeated warnings from scientists in France and abroad, the Mediator drug was prescribed to 5,000,000 French people, originally to fight diabetes and later as an appetite-suppressing, slimming pill. A report from the French health inspectorate, due in mid-January, will investigate why successive French health ministers, of the left and right, failed to heed advice that the drug – produced by the French pharmaceutical giant, Servier – was at best useless, and at worst highly dangerous.

Is it too late for all of us or is there something the average Canadian and Ontarian can do about the control of our health system and how our tax dollars are being used?

What do you think Canada?  You can post your comments below.

Scott BeckHomestead Organics

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