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Uncontrollable forces in debates on the availability of drugs - Health Policy Today, 26th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/26/2008 - 18:20

The debate about the availability of expensive drugs is changing in nature. It is being linked to a need for more insurance, to provide for expensive drugs, amid reports that the European Commission proposes to allow pharmaceutical firms to provide information directly to patients about their products, on the radio, the internet and in newspapers.


After a short summer simmer, polyclinic politics promise provincial pyrotechnics – Health Policy Today, 20th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/20/2008 - 15:00

GPs you see today might have a spring in their step. The BMA aims to enlist local authority Overview & Scrutiny Committees in their war on polyclinics. Reports of a Lancet paper suggest the new GP contract has rapidly eroded inequalities of care in just three years. We are even told that the news prescriptions rose in Wales by 5% (in the first year since charges were scrapped) is a good thing and testament to the success of GPs better managing chronic conditions, giving more medicines so less is spent on hospital admissions.

Tablet of stories reveals an unhealthy obsession with drugs – Health Policy Today, 19th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/19/2008 - 17:35

In today's press there are 17 pieces relevant to the ongoing debate about access to drugs; their cost; and how we judge their effectiveness. There are also reports of safety concerns, but by far the biggest volume of stories (7 from 15) relate to potential new discoveries. This tablet of stories reveals an unhealthy social obsession with drugs.

Listing all these stories in a table allows them to be moved around, better revealing the contours of our drugs debate (pasted at the foot of this piece).

Editor's blog (2) 18th August 2008: money for nothing to the Ritalin generation

Publish Date/Time: 
08/18/2008 - 22:24

Oh. For. Fuck’s. Sake.

I have just wasted half an hour of my life that I’m never going to get back again, watching the BBC Panorama programme on drug access and NICE.

Now 30 minutes is far too short a time to even attempt a serious programme about healthcare rationing if you’re clever and thoughtful (even though the BBC evidently believe that the attention deficit disorder generation, weaned on Ritalin and fast edits, can bear no more), so a serious programme is what we didn’t get.

A panoramic debate widens further still – Health Policy Today, 18th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/18/2008 - 17:10

It is sometimes said that what happens in the US comes to Britain a few years later. It is not so often commented, however, that the US is beginning to pick up some things from the British system.

Editor's blog 18th August - Rawlins and Dillon show attack is the best form of defence

Publish Date/Time: 
08/18/2008 - 12:57

While blogging last night, I didn't yet know that NICE chair Professor Sir Michael Rawlins would be writing a piece for the Health Service Journal website today, and merely went from what was in The Observer's interview / feature.

Editor's blog 17th August 2008: Rawlins bites back

Publish Date/Time: 
08/17/2008 - 20:23

Hello again, after another unwanted and unexpected workload-enforced interregnum of absence. What a lot of medals Team GB have got. It's great! There may be hope for the obesity crisis yet if this turns sport and exercise back to something we as a nation do rather than something we just watch (with all the associated pornographic connotations).

The Maynard Doctrine: the challenges of healthcare reform in the USA

The US healthcare system is fragmented and expensive, costing twice as much per capita as the NHS and consuming nearly 16 per cent of a much larger national income.

If you are elderly or disabled, you can get a reasonable package of healthcare benefits from Medicare, which is federally funded. If you have fought for US armed forces, you are eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration which is also federally funded and an efficient mini-NHS.

Living in economic times – Health Policy Today, 15th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/15/2008 - 17:45

A glance at today’s press confirms the tagline currently used by the Economist – ‘we live in economic times’.

Pricing the value of life - Health Policy Today, 14th August 2008

Publish Date/Time: 
08/14/2008 - 19:15

An inherent tension in healthcare has re-emerged in a contemporary theme. It relates to the balance between population-level and individual-level perspectives on policymaking.