The Root Of All Evil

A new treatment for cancer has been developed by Swiss pharmaceutical behemoth, Roche. Its called Kadcyla, generic name being the not-so-catchy ’trastuzumab emtansine’, and rumour has it that it’s acing every test thrown at it. Roche has decided to take great advantage of this, charging an insane amount of money for their hard work.

In an attempt to put a price on human life, an independent organisation known as NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has a points system when deciding which treatments are worth the NHS’ resources, a morally challenging job indeed. Currently this figure stands at £30,000 per quality-adjusted life year, or QALY. Any treatment which costs more than this is deemed too expensive to merit absorption by our wonderful NHS. Personally I believe that such a measure is necessary, no matter how seemingly heartless. All in the name of the greater good. Sh*t happens, as it were.

So, Roche’s new wonder drug’s cost? Six times this, at a whopping £180,000 QALY. Big R rationalise this by explaining that the research and development of cancer treatments is very expensive. Unfortunately, and conveniently, these costs have not been revealed, for commercial reasons, but are estimated at around 10% of total cost price. Some food for thought; last year, Roche made a profit of £7.7 billion. Yes, that’s a B.

This is an evil of the world, money does this to people. It erodes ones conscience, pushes a person to the limits of their moral bubble, and eventually past it until it bursts and they adopt the view of anything goes. They accept that this is who they’ve become, filthy rich; a fitting descriptor.

Pharmaceutical companies need to be nationalised, and I mean every single one of them, in every country. The greater good of humankind is at stake. The cost of the fight against cancer, and every other disease, would be greatly reduced and easily, and happily, absorbed by the taxpayer.

Come on people.