Uma Questão de Vida

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«Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, with 60,000 new cases and almost 20,000 deaths a year. But fewer than 2,000 patients received Bexxar or Zevalin last year, only about 10 percent of those who are suitable candidates for the drugs. The reasons that more patients don’t get these drugs reflect the market-driven forces that can distort medical decisions, Dr. Press and other experts on lymphoma treatment say. A result can be high costs but not necessarily the best care.
The drugs have not been clinically proven to prolong survival, compared with other therapies. But patients are more likely to respond to them than standard treatments, and trials to test whether the drugs do have a survival benefit are nearly complete.
One reason is that cancer doctors, or oncologists, have financial incentives to use drugs other than Bexxar and Zevalin, which they are not paid to administer. In addition, using either drug usually requires oncologists to coordinate treatment with academic hospitals, whom the doctors may view as competitors. [...]
In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2002, the tumors in 80 percent of patients who received chemotherapy and Zevalin shrank, compared with 56 percent who received chemotherapy and Rituxan. Of patients who received Zevalin, 30 percent went into complete remission, compared with 16 percent who got Rituxan.» [New York Times]

Esta notícia ilustra o impacto de alguns interesses económicos nas decisões de alguns médicos. O debate acerca da privatização do Sistema Nacional de Saúde [1, 2 e 3] não pode ignorar os sinais que nos chegam de um país onde a saúde está completamente (neo)liberalizada. É absolutamente inaceitável que o benefício do doente (e nele se incluiu a necessidade de sustentabilidade do Sistema de Saúde) não seja o único factor relevante na tomada de decisões clínicas.

[fotografia de Pedro Guimarães]

1 comentário:

  1. Mais um excelente exemplo da �m�o invis�vel� do mercado. Laissez faire, laissez mourir.

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