Concern has been raised over a plan announced by Health Secretary (and misprint) Jeremy Hunt to give new medicines to people who are severely ill, years before they are licensed.
In comparison, little has been said about findings by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that people in deprived areas live shorter lives and spend more of those lives in poor health.
There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn from this:
If poorer people spend more time in ill health, then they are more likely to be given experimental drugs before those treatments are clinically proven.
In other words, the Conservative-led government is using the poor as guinea pigs for drug trials.
The BBC quoted Mr Hunt: “What patients want is sometimes to try medicines that may not be clinically proven to be effective but are clinically safe. We are streamlining the process so these medicines can be used much earlier – particularly if they have early promise – and that is something which will bring hope to a lot of patients.”
How does he know these medicines are safe? How does he know that people want them? How does he know that they’ll do what they say? He doesn’t.
This shows what he wants – to make the UK a profitable place for pharmaceutical companies by giving them a market for drugs that could be completely useless – or could have unforeseen effects.
It’s more marketisation for our once-great NHS.
Long-term readers will be aware that Mrs Mike has been receiving treatment from the NHS in England, including injections to alleviate the severe back pain from which she suffers.
I asked her if this announcement was worrying for her – as a poor person who has spent much of her life in ill-health.
“Nuh-uhrr,” she said. That seemed conclusive, so I threw her lunchtime slab of raw meat into the cage and locked the door before she could reach me.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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