February 24, 2024

British government tightens purse for drugs

Watchdog recommends ditching “rule of rescue”
The British government’s medicine’s watchdog has decided that patients will
not be able to obtain government subsidised drugs if the cost of their
medication is too great,. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)
says in a little-publicised report
that the natural impulse to go to the aid of individuals in trouble – as when
vast resources are used to save a sailor lost at sea – should not apply to the
NHS. "When there are limited resources for healthcare, applying the ‘rule of
rescue’ may mean that other people will not be able to have the care or
treatment they need," it argues.

According to the Independent newspaper, this decision contradicts the
position of NICE’s own citizen’s council. This advisory body believed that
individuals in "desperate and exceptional circumstances" should sometimes
receive greater help than can be justified by a "purely utilitarian approach."
Most agreed the NHS could not be expected to save lives at any cost, but felt
there were cases where, if the NHS did not intervene, society would be
diminished. "It is human nature to help in an emergency," said one member. ~ Independent,
Aug 12