I was knitting quietly last night while FL was asleep in his chair, when suddenly Reporting Scotland on the BBC news caught my attention.
You can read the whole story here.
Apparently the NHS in England and Wales has approved funding of Revlamid (Lenalidomide)for the treatment of Multiple Myeloma, after striking a deal with the drug manufacturer in which they pick up the cost if the patient lives for more than two years. However, the NHS in Scotland is not part of the agreement and they are sticking by their assessment that the £36,000 per annum cost of the drug for one patient is better spent in e.g. employing two nurses to care for lots of patients.
The BBC interviewed a Scottish woman who had received a bone marrow transplant and felt that she should have the same access to the drug as an English patient, if her myeloma was to relapse.
My feelings about this are complex. On the one hand, I don't think that geography should matter: it is still "The United Kingdom" we live in, despite partial devolution of government and governance of the National Health Service. But I can also see that in a small country like Scotland, the tiny number of MM-patients should not gobble up limited financial resources at the expense of greater numbers of sick people.
The report failed to mention that this is a disease mainly of the elderly, and that treatment regimes here are partly dictated by the age of the patient. So, for example, FL is not eligible for a bone marrow transplant because of his age. I suppose the age bar is based on the assumption that an older person is going to die soon anyway, and has less to contribute to society - so why keep them alive? But it is a harsh decision-making process that neglects the individuality of the patient. Or the people who love him / her.