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A bitter pill of health options; RecordView.

IT IS an absolute outrage that Scottish cystic fibrosis sufferers like little Maisie Black are to be denied a new wonder drug that could save their lives.

If the brave seven-year-old lived in England, she would have access to Kalydeco and her life expectancy would be much improved.

Instead, she currently takes around 50 different kinds of medication and has daily three-hour sessions of physiotherapy to manage her condition.

Taking the pill would lead to an almost immediate improvement in her life and give her increased hope for the future.

But, as the Daily Record reveals today, the bean counters at the Scottish Medicines Consortium have decided that the PS200,000-a-year cost is too high a price to pay.

Maisie's mum Tilda sobbed after hearing the news.

She is now faced with the horrifying prospect of having to continue visiting her daughter in a hospital isolation unit and must also wear protective clothing on each occasion she sees her - including gowns, masks and goggles.

Tilda's reaction was understandable - it would break the heart of any parent.

The case also raises further questions about the way resources are being used by our health service.

Unlike in England and Wales, patients in Scotland do not have to pay for their prescriptions - even if they are very rich.

That policy has proved to be popular at elections but is it the best use of money when little girls like Maisie can't get access to vital drugs? The SNP Government do not make the decisions on which drugs should be licensed - but they do control the purse strings.

Health Secretary Alex Neil is expected to make an announcement about the issue today.

He has a moral duty to ensure that the sick and vulnerable in Scotland are given the same opportunities to get better as their counterparts in England and Wales.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 14, 2013
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