The Real Story
Your money or your life
‘How much is my life worth?’
That’s the harrowing question torturing the minds of thousands of people with a terminal illness.
People like 49-year-old Debbie Hall, who is dying of cancer.
Should she sell her house and car, leaving nothing to her son, for the chance to see one more precious Christmas with him and her young granddaughter?
And in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS, why – when we have a publicly funded health service – should Debbie be going through this torment?
‘It doesn’t have a bottomless pit of money,’ says Diarmaid Mcdonald of campaign group Just Treatment. ‘The drug companies that charge sky-high prices are to blame, as is the Government that lets them get away with it.’
If a pharmaceutical company has the patent on a drug and a monopoly on manufacture, it can name its price.
‘In the development of new medications, most fail and successful drugs can take 12 years to come to market,’ says Richard Torbett of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. That’s a huge amount of money.
‘I’m not saying any price is justified. But if new medication gives lots of extra quality of life, it’s important to be rewarded for years of research and investment.’
Here, Lindsay Calder asks why some people are now crowdfunding for their lives…