Biography

RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No personalized medicine, please, we're British!

Victims Patients of the British National Health Service are denied access to innovative personalized treatment for cancer because the bureaucratic panel that has to approve all treatments offered by the NHS hasn't gotten around to OKing the relatively cheap tests needed to direct patients towards the best personalized treatment.
Personalised medicines, which theoretically are already available across the NHS, allow doctors to match patients with treatments, based on the genetic nature of their disease.
Unfortunately, however...
Many doctors say that there are unacceptable delays to obtaining the test results, delaying treatment and putting patients’ live at risk. Doctors also said that some health authorities withheld funding for personalised medicines, which are generally more expensive initially but eventually save money because the treatment is more effective.
Or as the British parliament put it...
New diagnostic tests are being used to predict which patients will respond to certain cancer treatments. Provision of these tests in the NHS is currently variable and there is a need to assess better their clinical accuracy and the benefits of testing...Emerging cancer treatments are designed for specific groups of cancer patients. Such therapies incur high R&D costs for small markets and are often not recommended for use in the NHS.
Five year death rates with breast cancer in the UK are almost twice those in the US. That will change, now we're putting a similar panel in charge of our own health spending.

The National Health Service is so bad that the Times runs a new horror story about it once a week. Most recently it emerged that NHS hospitals were throwing elderly patients out onto the street in the middle of the night in order to free up beds. Previously, their head of nursing suggested that families come in to the hospital to tend to the basic sanitary needs of their elderly relatives, because the nurses are just too busy. Despite that, American liberals, most notably Bob Kerrey, think it's wonderful.

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