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INSIDE THE ETHICS COMMITTEE
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Inside the Ethics Committee
Wednesdays 24,†31 May &†7 June 2006 8.00-8.45pm
Repeated Saturdays 27 May, 3†&†10†June 2006 10.15-11.00pm
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Wed†7 June 2006 (rpt Sat)†
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In the second series of Inside the Ethics Committee, Vivienne Parry returns to discuss real life medical cases with a panel of experts who sit on clinical ethics committees.
Full Programme Transcript >>

Programme 3 - Funding for non-NHS drugs


This week the panel discusses the case of Richard, who is in his early fifties and has colon cancer. He's read about a new drug called Avastin in the newspapers which could prolong his life by five months.†

The†treatment†costs £18,500 per patient and isn't available on the NHS. The local primary care trust could fund the drug if Richard is an 'exceptional' case. But what makes someone exceptional?

Avastin needs to be delivered intravenously alongside standard chemotherapy. Another option is for Richard to buy the drug privately, but have it administered on the NHS. Is this 'mixed provision' of private and public healthcare ethical?

Ethical issues

- Should GPs and specialists tell their patients about treatments that aren't available on the NHS?

- How do PCTs decide which patients to fund?

- How can you weigh up ethics against economics?

- What effect has the recent Herceptin judgement had on funding decisions?

- If Richard buys the drug privately but has it delivered on the NHS, is this ethical?

The panel

- Dr Deborah Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics at St George's Hospital Medical School
- Charles Foster, a Barrister specialising in Medical Law
- Dr Ann Slowther, a GP and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Ethics at Warwick University 's Medical School

Programme 1: Genetic Testing for Adult Diseases
Programme 2: Pandemic Flu

Archive: Series 1

More Information:†
BBC Health: Bowel Cancer
Bowel Cancer†UK
Cancer Research UK

Cancerbackup
Beating Bowel Cancer
National Institute†for Clinical Excellence - Avastin Report
UK Clinical Ethics Network - Resource Allocation
European Medicines Agency
BBC News: Q&A -†Herceptin judgement
BBC Religion & Ethics
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