Counties can't afford new rheumatoid medicine
The National Board of Health and Welfare wants counties to give people suffering with rheumatoid arthritis a new type of biological medicine, but the counties may not be able to afford it.
The newspaper Rheumatoid World reports that the new national guidelines on rheumatoid arthritis care will take longer than expected to implement because many counties have less money in their budgets.
Håkan Andersson, who has suffered from arthritis for 25 years, thinks more people should get the medicine. "It's unbelievable that one medicine can have such a big impact. That you go in to the doctor, get the medicine, and several hours later the pain disappears," he tells Swedish Radio News.
Andersson gets an IV with the medicine once every seven weeks. It has boosted his quality of life and lowered the risk of fracture and diminshed his pain.
To ensure that more patients receive the same treatment, the National Board of Health and Welfare pushed through the new guidelines in May. And the Board estimates that counties' costs would reach between 700 and 800 SEK a year.
Several counties have gone directly to the drug manufacturers to get a better price on the medicine. But Bo Claesson at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions says these types of negotiations are illegal.
"With these high prices it's harder for counties to administer the medicine so we are waiting for the review that's coming soon, that will look more closely at the possibility of counties being able to lower their costs," Claesson tells Swedish Radio.
Håkan Andersson wonders if it is ethical. "Should people have to be in pain when there's a medicine out there to help them, I don't think so."