The Health News United Kingdom September 7 2017

Overview

  • Drug prices in the United Kingdom are already among the lowest in the developed world, may drop lower still. The British public-health system has adopted new limits on how much it spends on certain medicines, prompting pharmaceutical companies to sue in a bid to stop the initiative.
  • New figures from the NHS show that  more than three families a week are saying no to organ donation even when relatives have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register.
  • According to a BBC report, the United Kingdom’s coastal communities are among the country’s worst off for earnings, employment, health and education. For example: In Blackpool, individual health is among the poorest in the UK.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 7th of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-04/why-drugs-cost-less-in-the-u-k-than-in-the-u-s-quicktake-q-a

Drug prices in the United Kingdom are already among the lowest in the developed world, may drop lower still. The British public-health system has adopted new limits on how much it spends on certain medicines, prompting pharmaceutical companies to sue in a bid to stop the initiative. At a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to bring down the cost of medicine and health care in the United States, the U.K.’s experience can offer lessons as well as cautionary tales. The taxpayer-funded National Health Service, which provides free healthcare to more than sixty four million people, is the main buyer of pharmaceutical products in the U.K. That means it can use its purchasing power to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices. A government agency called the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or NICE assesses new drugs, or drugs that could have a significant effect on patients, to determine whether they are cost-effective. It then makes a recommendation to the NHS system in England. (Local public health systems in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland make their own decisions.) To secure NICE’s backing, pharmaceutical companies sometimes offer undisclosed discounts on the list prices for their more expensive branded drugs, reducing the cost to taxpayers.

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The U.K. government, to reduce NHS spending, in March announced it would limit payments for any drug that could cost the health system more than twenty million pounds annually in its first three years of use. The pharmaceutical industry’s trade group is asking for judicial review of that decision, considering that some of the affected drugs had been approved as cost effective. Any drugs over the twenty-million-pound limit will have to go through an additional negotiation process between the NHS and the company. Manufacturers say this could delay treatments for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/09/04/hundreds-dying-families-block-organ-donation-even-relatives/

Hundreds of people are dying each year waiting for transplants because families are reluctant to talk about whether their relatives actually wanted to donate their organs. New figures from the National Health Service show that  more than three families a week are saying no to organ donation even when relatives have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Although carrying a donor card demonstrates a legal decision to donate, in practice if a family strongly objects, it does not go ahead.  NHS Blood and Transplant say many families are often unsure and decide it is safer to say no, meaning around four hundred sixty lifesaving organ transplants are missed each year. Last year four hundred fifty seven people died while on the active transplant waiting list and a further eight hundred seventy five people were removed from the list, because they became too ill for an organ. Many of these people will have died shortly after being removed. There are currently six thousand four hundred fourteen people waiting for a transplant but the reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs, experts are warning. “It’s a tragedy,” said Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant. Only one in every hundred people die in circumstances where they could donate, so every potential donor is precious.
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NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than eighty percent of people support organ donation but only around forty nine percent of people have ever talked about it.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41141647

According to a BBC report , the United Kingdom’s coastal communities are among the country’s worst off for earnings, employment, health and education. The Social Market Foundation said the economic gap between coastal and non-coastal places has grown. Average wages are three thousand six hundred pounds a year lower , according to the think tank. Meanwhile, the minister for coastal communities has announced forty million pounds in funding to help coastal areas. The report, produced for BBC Breakfast, found that five of the ten local authorities in the UK with the highest unemployment rate for the three months to March two thousand seventeen were coastal.

In terms of health, ten of the twenty local authorities in England and Wales with the highest proportion of people in poor health are coastal such as Blackpool, Sunderland and
East Lindsey.

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In Blackpool, individual health is among the poorest in the UK.  Meanwhile, the government announced on Monday that it was providing forty million pounds for coastal areas from the Coastal Communities Fund. Having launched in two thousand twelve, it has so far provided one hundred seventy million pounds for two hundred seventy eight projects across the UK in five rounds of funding.

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