The Sickening Profits of Cancer

Good health is intimately related to wealth, and don’t the super-rich know it! Since 2009 the richest 1,000 families in Britain have doubled their wealth, while millions of families can’t even afford to live.

The super-rich aren’t overly concerned about maintaining a fair and well-funded NHS; partly because they have their own parallel system of health care provision in the private sector. Their only worries regarding the future of the NHS seem to be to make sure that the healthcare businesses that they help run are suitably positioned to reap the rewards of privatisation.

At present 225 parliamentarians have recent or present financial connections to private healthcare companies. So little wonder that the NHS is being dismantled and handed over to such profiteers.

The latest attack upon our health by the rich, that has been “widely condemned” by healthcare charities, is the announcement that “Cancer patients could soon be refused life-extending drugs as part of new NHS plans” (September 7, Leicester Mercury).

Apparently NHS England has decided to stop supplying at least 17 life-extending medications “as bosses look to make strong cutbacks”.

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To add insult to deadly-injury, the Tories have pushed NHS England into the scandalous position of negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to work out which cancer drugs offer ‘value for money’.

This makes no sense to anyone who is not a member of the ruling-class. Why should private companies grow rich from our poor health? And why should they hold the ultimate power about who should live or die?

In response to this foreboding news, Professor Karl Claxton, a health economist at York University, said that the Cancer Drugs Fund has “put the interests of manufacturers ahead of patients – and it is time for the political will to be found to address the underlying problem of the price being charged for drugs.”

One important way in which we could begin to put the needs of people before profit would be to remove all the cancerous private concerns that reside within the heart of our health service. More to the point, instead of ‘negotiating’ with drug companies, we should be nationalising them.

If we did this then all the expertise that has been built up by research workers in the health sector need no longer be traded for profit: instead this knowledge could be made freely available for anyone who needs it.

Capitalism as a political and economic system is totally unsuited to meeting the needs of the majority, as it is more attuned to the incessant drive for profits than seeking to provide outstanding and affordable healthcare for all.

This is why I will continue to struggle to promote socialism as the humane and democratic alternative to capitalism, and why I will never give up the fight to save the NHS.

This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on 11th September.

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