From The Daily Mail:
A panel of scientific advisers had recommended in October 2013 that the vaccine should not be introduced as it was not deemed cost-effective. But ministers told the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation to carry out another assessment and this concluded last March that it should be offered.
The Government then spent almost a year negotiating with drugs manufacturers trying to agree a cheaper price. On Saturday, the Mail highlighted how the jab was being denied to babies because of the cost row. Nearly 800,000 babies each year would be eligible for the jab at an average annual cost of £16million.
It's an impossible problem*, and fair play to Jeremy Hunt for going on telly and fronting it out.
The other good news is that a lot of health services around the world take the price the NHS have negotiated as their benchmark price and end up paying the same low-ish amount.
* On the one hand, the marginal cost to the manufacturer is pennies per dose.
But the value to the 'customer' is huge. The approximate cost to the NHS can be estimated in £millions, but how do you estimate the cost of the death and disability of possibly hundreds of people a year, i.e. the value of avoiding it?
The NHS wants to pitch the price closer to the pennies per dose (plus a reasonable contribution towards R&D costs) and the manufacturer wants to hold out for a price which is nearer the value to the customer. The difference is 'rent'. This wasn't an example of the UK government being hard hearted or intransigent, it was the manufacturer who was holding us all to ransom.
And how do you trade off that cost/benefit with the cost/benefit of all the other things people would like the NHS to do? The NHS/Jeremy Hunt's basic argument is (or should be) "Look, we are terribly sorry for the tragedies which have happened over the past couple of years, but with the money we've saved, we'll be able to treat lots of other people for other things."
Monday, 30 March 2015
From The Daily Mail:
My latest blogpost: Three cheers for Jeremy HuntTweet this! Posted by Mark Wadsworth at 10:30