Friday, 18 May 2012

Health Debate (4) The Cost-Effectiveness of Big Pharma drugs

This blog was first published at the Homeopathy Safe Medicine blog

The cost of ConMed treatment is exorbitant, and always has been. Given its ineffectiveness, and also its inherent dangers, the issue of cost-effectiveness should now be considered. We have a National Health Service (NHS) that has cost us in excess of £110 billion in recent years. From its inauguration in 1947, costs have risen year-by-year - usually alongside claims that the service is 'under-funded'.

We also have a situation where the numbers of people suffering from chronic diseases, like Arthritis, Cancers of all types, Dementia, Depression, Autism, and disease linked to heart, kidneys, liver, have all increased, often exponentially. We suffer chronic disease now at epidemic levels.

If we then consider (just) the known, and admitted side-effects, adverse reactions, and disease-inducing effects (DIEs) of Big Pharma drugs, the link between increased expenditure on conventional medical (ConMed) treatment (largely drug based) and increasing costs becomes clear.

But, of course, this essential feature of the 'health debate' is rarely discussed by the mainstream Media. Nor is the performance of ConMed ever compared with other medical therapies, like homeopathy.

Why is this? And what kind of questions should the Media be asking if it had any intention of entering into "the Health Debate"? Perhaps these are just of few of them!
  • Why does the Media not ask searching questions about why Big Pharma drugs are so excessively expensive?
  • Why does the Media not focus on either or both side of the 'cost-effectiveness' question when it comes to ConMed drugs?
  • Why does the Media not ask questions about the link between increasing NHS expenditure, especially on Big Pharma drugs, and the rising levels of chronic disease?
  • Why has the NHS conducted so few comparative studies on the cost-effectiveness of ConMed, Homeopathy, and other CAM therapies?
  • Why are NHS resources spent almost totally on one medical discipline, ConMed? Why does the NHS not spend more money on Homeopathy, and other CAM therapies?
  • Why, despite massive annual increases in NHS spending in recent years, are ConMed health services still overstretched, and often, apparently, quite unable to cope with the demands of ill-health and disease?
When HRT (hormone replacement therapy) was found to cause breast cancer in 2002 (it was actually known to do so many, many years before that), prescriptions for the drug (once said to be a wonder drug, and entirely safe) was reduced massively. There followed, over the next few years, a major reduction in new breast cancer cases in the UK. Of course, the mainstream Media has barely mentioned this (and has since allowed the ConMed Establishment to claim that this reduction in breast cancer is part of its successful campaign against the disease). 

What this means, of course, is that ConMed treatment is not only expensive, in its own right, but it is expensive in that it creates other diseases, and treatment is then required for the new diseases! The pharmaceutical companies have developed a marvellous business structure! Their drugs treat disease; cause more disease; and so they then profit again from treating the new, iatrogenic, diseases.

The cost of some Big Pharma drugs is quite amazing. Several years ago there was a debate about the drug Herceptin, and whether it should be available, free of charge, on the NHS. Herceptin was said at the time to cost some £30,000 per person per year, and was designed to treat women with breast cancer. Many of these women, of course, would have been those who developed breast cancer as a result of taking HRT! The mainstream Media did not point at this time, either that the campaign for Herceptin was funded by the drug manufacturer; or that the drug had been known, for some years, to cause heart problems, and death. And so it continues

For the drug companies it is a profitable business. 

For many patients it is a personal disaster.
For the NHS, and the British taxpayer, it is a spiralling, out of control, bottomless pit.

The fifth part of this series will focus on the epidemic levels of chronic disease that we are now experiencing, and why burgeoning expenditure on ConMed treatments has not been able to cope with these epidemics.

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