Listening to the news about NICE turning down yet another cancer drug has made me very sad and a little puzzled. In the space of 10 days two new drugs - Kadcyla and Abiraterone, that would give valuable extra time to breast and prostate cancer sufferers respectively, have been refused because of cost.
It could be said that the investment of resources into a cure that could carry a price-tag of £1m plus per person to turn a profit is, in purely financial terms, a ridiculous thing to do. With many pharmaceutical companies linking their moral accountability solely with their shareholders, for those who contract unprofitable, neglected diseases it's often a case of "bad luck" and in many cases "goodbye".
UK plc should not pay for Pfizer's crisis of innovation. AstraZeneca is a strategically important company to the UK, developing vital drugs both here and around the world. A takeover driven by tax efficiency and cash dividend rather than research and innovation imperils the future of UK science, research jobs, and exports.
Of course the NHS needs reform. Corruption, where it appears, must be rooted out. No one argues against that. And no, I don't have any answers. But I know is this: we must protect what's left of the NHS. Protect it against the encroachment of hedge funds; cease selling our medical data to private companies so that they can make products to sell back to us.
Millions of Sandras and Paulines exist. They show that obesity related illnesses are not related to obesity at all but to lifestyle and more specifically to pressure to be thin and dieting! So why is our Government advising us that obesity causes disease and advising weight loss and dieting, the real causes of these diseases?
Performing a spinal tap under field conditions is nerve-wracking. Sticking a needle into someone's spine to extract spinal fluid is painful and risky and that's just the doctor's perspective. But it's also something that our doctors have to do every day as part of routine tests for advanced stage sleeping sickness.