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Ethical and Economic Challenges Related to Policy Decisions

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Ethical and Economic Challenges Related to Policy Decisions
Natalie Stone
Walden University

Ethical and Economic Challenges Related to Policy Decisions
In the article, “Review of prostate cancer drug Provenge renews medical cost benefit debate,” Stein poses a valid question. Who determines if Medicare reimburses a life-prolonging drug? Stein reviewed arguments from prostate cancer patients, economists, and health care policy specialists regarding Provenge, an expensive drug aimed to treat late stage prostate cancer. The Provenge drug trail concluded that it would potentially extend patient lives by approximately 4 months. (Stein, 2010)
Ethically, is it reasonable to allow the government to determine if someone receives health care treatment? In my opinion, the government is not preventing the patient from receiving treatment, instead considering non-payment for some treatments. If a patient chooses to continue treatment, they would be responsible for the cost. In cases where the cost versus outcome is widely reciprocal, I feel that non-payment is acceptable. In the article aforementioned, Provenge costs about 270,000 per person and the median life was prolonged by 4 months. (Stein, 2010) "At some point, if we keep paying these very high prices for treatments that provide very limited benefit, we're going to reach the point where we can no longer afford health care," said Alan Garber, a professor of medicine and economist at Stanford University.” (Stein, 2010, para. 29) Medicare is a publicly funded program and does not have unlimited fund.
Tension Between Cost and Care
Leibel B. Harelik, a prostate cancer patient, stated, “Whenever you are faced with a disease where you can lose your life, you really would like to extend it as much as you can.” (Stein, 2010, para. 25) This statement was in response to Provenge treatment being subsidized by…...

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