Drug rationing discussed in New England Journal of Medicine
A report in the New York Times reviewed a position in the New England Journal of Medicine it called “unusual” – arguing two sides of a medical point in one issue. The study in question was about a new blood thinning medicine which was proven to be effective but at significant cost. It would make a difference to one person in 88 at a cost of $180,000 for those 88 persons. The improvement in outcome did not save lives but rather prevented great though temporary pain in one person.
This type of analysis is likely to increase as the federal government, and those who feed the debate like the New England Journal of Medicine, will look more and more to cost effectiveness. This is not a new issue in other Western countries that routinely review new drugs for these efficiencies. But, in the United States, this is often viewed as health care “rationing”, putting limits on individual freedom to receive all of the health care that they want from their providers, drug makers and health insurers.