Thursday, August 07, 2008

To ask the question is to know the answer

BBC1, this morning, a programme called "Breakfast".

It's a sort of magazine, helpful if you want to find out the weather and travel news, without exposing yourself (usually, anyway) to the Today Programme's obnoxious agitprop.

So I'm swilling my coffee whilst ironing a shirt, waiting for said travel/weather, and one of the presenters, Sian something-or-other is interviewing a chap from, I think, N.I.C.E.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Bit of a misnomer, really. It's more a sort of central planning committee for NHS drugs expenditure. If N.I.C.E. is not and says a drug is too costly for the NHS, then the NHS doesn't use the drug.

And that has happened today, in respect of some kidney treatment drugs (see link, above).

And at one point, Sian Thingummy asks this chap: why don't you put pressure on the pharmaceutucal companies to bring down the costs of these drugs?

Now, leave aside the economic illiteracy of this question. Ignore, if you can, its incitement to extortion. Instead, can you imagine, if the story was about food prices, and La Thingummy was talking to a chap from Tesco, would she really ask him to put pressure on farmers to lower their prices?

Farmers good, big pharma bad.

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