Saudi Arabia has a nationalized health care system for its citizens. Once a citizen has been registered as a patient with a specifi cgovernmental facility, hospital or institution he or she will receive the necessary care and treatment. The needs of a patient are met in Saudi Arabia with its advanced equipment such as dialysis, various types of scans or xrays, monitoring devices, etc. It’s surgical wards and operating rooms are modern and clean. Many of the operating rooms will have live video feeds to broadcast and record procedures. The knowledge and care for the patient is there. There are not the questions of whether a patient will have access to the appropriate medicines or a fear that medicines would be taken away.
In my view it seems like in America and a lot of other places in the world insurance companies and governmental organizations are now the ones making crucial medical decisions these days on the right to have access to helpful medications or perhaps even the right to live. While America is the best place in the world for medical treatment it is becoming clear that patients are not receiving every chance for the right to live.
The drug, Avastin, is an excellent example. It is one of the few options for patients like me who have Stage IV metastasized breast cancer. If not aware, Stage IV cancer of any kind is terminal and unless a miracle from God at this time cannot be cured. However with Avastin, the growth and spread of the cancer is slowed down thereby giving a patient hope for an extension on life and hope for a cure to be found.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last year that it wishes to withdraw approval of Avastin. Why? Because there is not enough data to confirm that this drug is extending the life of Stage IV breast cancer patients…long enough. Long enough? I didn’t realize that when it comes to medicine and treatment that a limit(or is it really price) can be put on an individual’s life. Avastin is not cheap. Each treatment of Avastin is an estimated US$12,000. Some breast cancer patients must receive weekly infusions of Avastin.
If the USFDA is successful to have approval of Avastin withdrawn from the market it will likely mean that insurance companies will no longer cover the cost of the drug. The majority of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer patients are disabled and unable to work because of the progression and side effects of the disease. They live on very limited incomes and rely on public health care. It’s doubtful that they (and a majority of people) could self-pay US$1200 each time for that infusion of prolonged life.
There will be a public hearing on 29 June in Washington, DC to appeal for a reversal of the USFDA’s decision. My own oncologist and one of his other patients, also a Stage IV metastatic breast cancer patient, will be speaking on why they