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Archive for August 26th, 2009

Three weeks ago State Rep. Greg Lavelle submitted a FOIA regarding former DHSS Secretary Vince Meconi’s current consulting engagement with the State.   Apparently there has been no response and Rep. Lavelle issued another press release today:

According to the Delaware Department of Justice, the state Freedom of Information Act requires that a response to a FOIA request be made within a reasonable amount of time.
 
“It’s been three weeks since I asked for information the administration should have been able to supply in less than an hour,” Rep. Lavelle said.  “In my estimation, we’re way past ‘reasonable.’”
 
The News Journal recently reported Meconi is being paid $6,093.75 monthly for his consulting services in addition to $7,633.56 he is receiving each month from his state pension.  Combined, Meconi is reaping nearly $165,000 in state money annually – topping the salary he made last year as DHSS secretary by more than $20,000.
 
“The taxpayers of this state deserve to know the answers to the reasonable questions I asked on their behalf,” Rep. Lavelle said.  “This foot-dragging by the administration casts doubt on the governor’s claim to be committed to responsive, transparent government.”
 

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The Telegraph UK reports that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) previously said that four kidney cancer drugs “would not be made available…because they were too expensive and did not extend life beyond a few months in most cases,” and even after the drugs “were looked at again under new rules,” Nice said “three out of the four drugs were still not cost effective.” Nice approved Sutent (sunitinib malate), but rejected Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus). “Charities have said the ruling is disappointing as it means patients who do not respond to Sutent…do not have any other drugs to try.” The Telegraph also notes that the “rules which allow Nice to pass more expensive drugs if they are for small patient populations at the end of life do not apply if the drug is already licensed for other conditions.” A very convenient bureaucratic rule to deny healthcare.

I think that the following quote regarding “end of life criteria” is particularly interesting given the recent discussion of “end of life” counseling in HR 3200.

John Melville, General Manager of Roche UK, said: “This decision is entirely illogical and neither addresses the needs of patients with renal cancer, nor advances the innovation agenda. Avastin demonstrates the same value to the NHS as sunitinib and this guidance goes against the spirit of end of life criteria which were devised for this very setting.”

Patients and families should be having medical discussions with their physicians, but when government bureaucrats get involved, family wishes take a back seat.

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