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The NHS budget and a successful trial

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£725 million is theamount of money the NHS is spending a year on diabetes drugs due to the rise ofobesity levels. When I read this in a magazine recently I was shocked. The NHS is currently trying to save £20billion by 2015, making it roughly saving £5 billion a year. A recent Googlesearched proved to be difficult to find the yearly spend of the NHS in 2010,but I did find that in 2008/2009 the NHS spent morethan £100 billion.

So in comparison, it is surprising at how much of the budgetis being spent on type 2 diabetes, a condition that can be controlled andessentially reduced. The answer to me seems simple: reduce obesity levels andtherefore reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Could it be that the NHS isgiving out diabetes medication too easily without actually stressing topatients that losing weight might even mean that their diabetes would nolonger need to be controlled by their drugs, but by weight alone? Perhaps thedangers of obesity also need to be more widely promoted, particularly when theNHS is going through major cutbacks to reach their budget.

On a good note, a trialwas stopped early because a drug proved to be too successful and wouldtherefore be unethical to the patients who were not receiving the drug.Patients with prostate cancer were given a drug with alpha radiation, whichkills the genetic code in cancer cells. Alpha particles are bigger, moredamaging and more specific to the cancer cell compared to beta and gamma. Notonly did they live longer (30% of patients), but they also had less side effectsand experienced less pain. The quicker this drug gets onto the market, thebetter, especially since prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer inmen.

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