Early August saw reports detailing the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to deny access to four specific drugs designed to treat kidney cancer, on the basis of cost. Almost inevitably this garnered negative newspaper headlines for NICE and the decision. In what some might view as a riposte to these attacks, NICE has since come out accusing the pharmaceutical industry of pricing some drugs too highly and being too concerned with profits. Ultimately, NICE hold the line that overpricing by the pharmaceutical industry makes drugs unaffordable to the NHS.
Mark Martin, of Health-on-Line, responds, “This recent coverage adds to people’s insecurities about what sort of treatment and drugs they can expect from the NHS. Attacks by NICE on the pharmaceutical industry do not help to soothe these anxieties. There is a lack of clarity on what drugs are and will be available from the NHS and this will cause anxiety and uncertainty among the public. This does not bode well for the future of treating conditions such as cancer. Most experts agree that drugs and combinations of drugs will play a growing role in the treatment of these illnesses. The public should start demanding increased transparency from NICE about the decision-making process on these types of drugs."
Private medical insurance is sometimes seen as the expensive option but it can provide the reassurance that, in the case of the worst happening, eligible treatment will be provided for new conditions in accordance with the policy terms and conditions. PMI is becoming a more affordable choice for the public with flexible products and pricing available. Most insurers will not pay for drugs that have not obtained a license from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or those that are currently under experimentation, however, they will provide access to new drugs licensed by the EMA based on the individual’s needs.
Mark Martin asserts, "I believe many private medical insurance policyholders have been attracted to the reassurance insurance offers them. They are no longer willing to participate in the NHS/NICE drugs lottery. They want the peace of mind access to the drugs which may cure their condition gives them."