The Edge radio host Michael Kooge, aged 35 calls himself "the unluckiest guy in the world" after battling through stage three melanoma in 2012 was then told he had an unrelated glioblastoma (type of brain cancer) in 2017. It is a curious thing. There must be some research on these types of unrelated cancer appearing, I seem to hear about it so often I can't be the only person to think - are they unrelated?
The cancer treatment Kooge needs, Avastin, had an application placed for funding with Pharmac in 2015 and there has still been no decision made. Kooge is spending a huge $34,000 every six months, and he's quickly running out of money. "I'm not an advocate for health insurance at all, but I do urge everyone to get it even if you are young, because it could save your life.
This is the point - new drugs are made available to the public sector some years after they are available to private patients. The public health system is efficient - for the taxpayer it gives incredible value for money - but new drugs cost a huge sum of money to research, and that has to be recovered somehow. That 'somehow' is in the large private market of the US, and the (much) smaller markets that co-exist with public sector provision in most other wealthy countries.
It is sometimes said that private provision detracts from public provision (by bidding up the cost for resources, usually people) but I doubt we would have anything like the range of new drugs and discoveries that we do if all medical research globally were restricted to public services.
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