Thursday, June 07, 2007

What price health?

Are you aware that prescriptions are free in Wales?

They've gradually been coming down in price and now they're completely free. For everyone. The Health Service as it should be. And as education should be.

I don't know what we're sacrificing to enable this; there must be something that had to go. Is it worth it? I suppose that depends on what we're not doing or getting or investing in.

What makes me cross is having to pay about £6, over the counter, for the tiniest tube of Zovirax. Now it's a very good product and, if applied at the tingling stage, does stop cold sores developing; and I'm sure a lot of money was spent on the research and development costs. But can they still justify the price for 2g of cream?


Clare said...

Right that's it, I'm moving to Wales. I am sick of having to pay £13.75 for two inhalers that I need or else can't breathe...

Liz Hinds said...

You'll be very welcome, Clare!

MaryB said...

Free prescriptions. Sigh. I'm holding a prescription for my "ocular rosacea" (can you believe it?) that I got from the eye doctor on Monday until next Wednesday (pay day). Can't afford to fill it till then (first of the month rent-thing, you know). Free prescriptions. Sigh.

Liz Hinds said...

Red eyes, Maryb? It's dreadful you have to wait like that but I suppose if you will insist on being housed ...!

The NHS has been creeping closer towards the American system of paying for treatment. I know we can't afford everything, and where do you say no, but the principle is so fine.

DeeJay said...

I can't answer for the NHS £6 cost, but the price is justifiable for the manufacturer during the limited time it has the product under patent protection.
20 years patent protection that starts at the beginning of the development process that typically takes 12 years at an average total development cost of £8bn. IF it gets to market at all!
The only place the pharmas get money to continue R&D is to recoup the development costs in the remaining 8 years PLUS a profit.

Where I think the NHS has room to manoeuvre is when the product becomes a generic one at the end of the patent period and is then produced by generics manufacturers for a fraction of the cost with no R&D outlay to recoup.

Lord Nazh said...

the 6 pound cost covers cost of the creme and cost to NHS to cover your free prescriptions :)

Anonymous said...

Health care is a sore subject everywhere. Seems my wife has more and more money taken out of her pay, and less and less service. That's Germany.

Liz Hinds said...

If it worked that way, I wouldn't mind, Lord Nazh!

Okay, Ageis, you've made your point. (Under breath)I still think it's a lot of money for a titchy tube, mutter, mutter, mutter.

But, hey, I'm one of the fit ones so Ishouldn't complain.

I guess health care for an ageing population can only get more and more difficult to finance, Steve.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree with Clare. I've always resented the fact that my asthma inhalers were not regarded as "life saving" medicine, because, of course, they are. Here I pay about 2 euros for one, which is not so bad. Agree with you on Zovirax, Liz.

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