Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Tail wagging the Dog

The news made me chuckle the other day (as is often the case when living in a Country where the news is censored). In the same breath, the newsreader reported that Peter Werth had gone bankrupt and Boots Pharmacy had made record profits. So, Britain is a nation of badly dressed hypochondriacs then!

The Pharmaceutical industry is huge and powerful, though, isn't it? I went on a training course on Monday and sat next to this lovely Egyptian woman who, despite being a qualified Dentist, was working for a pharmaceutical company, working with people who had HIV or Cancer. She explained that the work was far more challenging, and, I suspect, better paid.

I am beginning to understand just how the pharmaceutical industry drives the medical profession - a bit like the tail wagging the dog. The newly available medication for MS is currently four times the cost of the old one. In what warped, dreamlike scenario can the manufacturing of a tablet be more costly than a small vial of powder, a glass syringe, two alcohol wipes, and the associated equipment needed to adminster said concoction? It isn't, of course, but the medical brains behind the innovation are expensive. And, of course, this marvellous creation emanates from a Country where all medicine is private, and the cost of such will be swallowed up by a multi-million dollar insurance industry.

So, the question is: when an NHS Doctor makes a decision about which medication will best suit his newly diagnosed MS patient, is it the patient's health and welfare he considers, or the strain on his budget?

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