Economy & Budget

You Can’t Have That New Technology

New technology has just become available that you believe is critical to the survival of your business.

The technology? A software program that will do exactly what you need done. With it, you have a good chance at success. Without it, your business is doomed.

And so you pick up a copy, right?

Not exactly. The government has determined that it doesn’t think your company would really benefit, given the cost. You think that’s outrageous. Why should the government be making these decisions about your business?

But you do have an option. You can take the issue to a government-created committee, which might — just might — find in your favor. Of course, political concerns, budgets, and the influence of outside interests which might differ from yours means it might not find in your favor, which would put you back on the road to failure.

That’s pretty much where the UK is with respect to pharmaceuticals, another type of technology.

The powers-that-be in Britain decided that the anti-breast cancer drug Herceptin was not cost effective and refused to cover it.

Female breast cancer patients appealed to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) — yet another panel of “experts” — which recently ruled in favor of the patients and recommended that the National Health Service pay for the drug.

According to the BBC, “NICE chief executive Anrdew Dillon said: ‘our assessment of Herceptin shows that it is clinically and cost effective for women with HER2 positive early breast cancer.’”

Fortunately, NICE decided for the patient in this instance, but it could have gone the other way — and often does.

There is something unseemly about governments and government committees deciding whether consumers can have access to the latest technology.

Everyone understands that when it comes to, say, a business, but not when someone’s health is at stake — where “failure” means something much, much worse.

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