Thursday, 16 August 2007

Thought for the Day: Fighting the system for the right to live

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Fighting cancer is physically and mentally draining. Getting better should be the main focus of cancer patients, but often, it's not, because cancer can also be draining on your bank account. Even if you have health insurance, some drugs aren't covered, and they're not cheap.

I started thinking about this when I read this article on breast cancer patients in New Zealand who have gone to court to all but beg the local drug-governing body, Pharmac, to cover their treatment, Herceptin, in their fight against their aggressive cancer. A 12-month course costs upwards of $70,000, and they just can't afford it. Really, beyond the ridiculously wealthy, who can comfortably afford $70,000 a year? Certainly not I. Apparently the women don't meet certain criteria that would make them eligible for coverage, and I hope they can sort it out before it's too late for these women.

Since when did the right to live become a matter of money, an issue to be debated in court? It's heart-breaking to see money win out over the chance at life, but that's the reality of our world, it seems. It's a complicated issue that has no clear answer.

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