Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, December 12th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: cartoons, health, national/act government - Tags: ,

21 comments on “Calculating”

  1. [Deleted] 1

    [lprent: dad you are banned]

    [Tane: Get yourself a new username.]

  2. Good colors.. but what a fab face for the principal subject..

    BTW: on that post re advertsing I’d meant to add how cartoonery could become both a viable form of expression on the standard and la mode.. making for a certain appeal and hopefully indispensability among blogs. Satire in print became thus a winner, so what not try for digital print, too.

    ps: instead of paralleling the fellow (as shown) how about adorning him with something like Kidder Key.. just a thought 🙂

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Pharmac’s own advisory board recommended that Herceptin be funded for a twelve month course according to an interview I heard with Larry Williams the other day. This being the case, then Pharmac went against its own advise by opting for a 9 week course. So, National can hardly be accused of making an emotive choice here.

    On the otherhand, it is certainly smart politics. Most women could envisage the possibility of themselves getting breast cancer at some stage, so National has probably won over a lot of female support through this decision.

    You might have grounds for criticising the basis in science for the decision. But I don’t think you could criticise the political astuteness of the move.

  4. Tane 4

    I’m not saying it’s not smart politics – short term at least. It helped get them into government, but the precedent may cause major headaches down the line.

    But when even National MPs are privately describing the decision as another “dead rat” they had to swallow to win the election I think it’s pretty clear it was an entirely cynical move.

  5. PeachyBehinds 5

    [lprent: dad you are banned]

  6. Tane 6

    There are opportunity costs in health spending, Peachy. Fund one drug, you can’t fund another. But of course, you know that.

  7. Andy 7

    The Herald has an interesting editorial on the issue that makes some excellent points.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    I think the government should always provide the latest drug treatments for everybody, free of charge, for as long as patients want, whatever the cost to taxpayers, and whatever the medical professionals say, and if you don’t agree with me it’s because you want to see people die (see, I’ve won the argument right there!). Only a faceless bureaucrat would get sidetracked by cost, and all that statistical mumbo-jumbo. Choices are for people who DON”T CARE.

    The Utopian Revolution is here. Long live Comrade John!

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Pharmac’s own advisory board recommended that Herceptin be funded for a twelve month course according to an interview I heard with Larry Williams the other day. This being the case, then Pharmac went against its own advise by opting for a 9 week course.


    Why not fund the 12 month treatments? New Zealanders have access to a fully funded, effective Herceptin treatment for early HER2- positive breast cancer the 9 week treatment. A fresh review of the science and other information has failed to convince us that the 12 month treatment offers any additional benefits over the 9 week treatment. To justify the additional expense, we first would need to be confident that 12 months treatment offered additional health outcomes, and we don’t have that confidence.

  10. Miffy Fontford 10

    [lprent: dad you are banned]

  11. ianmac 11

    I was appalled by Key’s Comments on TV news where he said, ” I don’t care what the experts say. I just care about the health of our NZ women.” This ties in with Gobsmacks view. (Probably how Key actually sees it but hardly a pragmatic view???)

  12. Billy 12

    Actually, I understand the experts agree that a year’s course of Hercepten is much better than 12 weeks. Pharmac are relying on one Finnish study the results of which were not replicated in any other major trial.

  13. Ari 13

    There’s actually some research that suggests that the 12-month course might be actively harmful to women’s health with major side-effects, so this change may actually be a bad thing regardless of the funds taken from other more cost-effective initiatives.

    While I certainly respect people’s right to have effective treatment, I don’t think we should be legislating specific treatments from parliament. Pharmac is independent for a reason, and if things are going badly there it needs to be restructured, not stepped around. At least the herceptin funding will come directly from the Ministry of Health rather than the government forcing Pharmac to fund it.

  14. Evidence-Based Practice 14

    No the experts do not agree on this. The evidence is based on the fact that most countries were only offered the 12 month option (Roche insisted), so that is the only option available, and most data relates to 12 months. In fact there is a big ongoing study (that NZ will now have to drop out of) comparing the effectiveness of both treatment times,

    Finland is one of the few countries which has both options and my understanding is that clinicians there much prefer to prescribe the shorter course as it works just as well (especially if you use it in conjunction with other treatments) and it has much fewer side effects. Herceptin is only effective in a particular type of breast cancer and studies in the US show many women are given it even though they have a different type of cancer) just because their insurance companies fund it and they have heard it is a desirable drug..

    Give us a few years and it could be revealed as another VIOXX – the side effects eg death by heart attack more likely than alleviation of cancer.

  15. Bill 15

    Breast Cancer Coalition. 20 odd organisations. A cursory search and up pops Roche as a sponsor/ donor to some of those orgs.

    Welcome to the US of A

  16. lprent 16

    Just cleaned out the d4j comment plague.

    Interesting – looks like another group of IP’s to previous ones. From here on out I’ll just feed the d4j comment silently to the anti-spam bot where detected.

  17. Evidence-Based Practice 17

    [Just a note to TheStandard IT expert. This post says there is 1 comment and the previous post says it has 2. But opening up the threads there are a lot more than that.]

  18. E-B P,

    wrote something very simlar to what I’d been thinking on the topic.. additionally it would appear that an international comparative appraisal of short-term vs longer term medication has been eliminated insofar as NZ participation.. these things can be very important.. e.g. remission post medication.. cancer coming back, as it were, after either short or longer term.. and then specifics like accurate clinical diagnosis pinpointing the most efficacious(per effective + economics) treatment..

    from politicians we can expect ‘broad brush’ remarks. Even so, I’d have thought any PM would have had a more temperate and considered language for the public on broadcast TV..

    One thing I did hear was how a “great deal” had been struck with Roche.. but no more detail. Does the Health Ministry have a no-tell clause on this? What was the deal.. the ‘premia’ for instance of direct dealing and remittance arrangements without recourse to Pharmac.. as I understand it. Was or were affiliate deals involved.. like I do you a favor so you do us one.. or more..

  19. Janet 19

    I wonder if the details of the deal could be found out in an Official Information Request?

  20. Murray 20

    OK it was an election bribe. You know, a bit like interest free student loans and WFF.

  21. QoT 21

    I fully admit to having issue with Moreu’s cartoons in the past, but JESUS CHRIST WHY IS IT SO WORDY IT’S MEANT TO BE A VISUAL BLOODY MEDIUM.

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