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Too Many Smokers

After missing out on yesterday, I decided that I would drive my car into town straight after the ward round, enjoy a nice lunch and just chill for the afternoon. Anita and the boys would only be back later this evening, so I got some time for myself.

After a nice lunch, I took a walk across town wary of what looked like impending rain coming a bit later. I had to strategise. I picked a small space at a cafe, ordered my drinks and ten everybody around me started lighting up. It looked like I was at the smoking section. And they occupy the best seats. Those who prefer smoke-free environment would have to cope with the seats indoors with poor view, blasted with industrial strength air conditioning.

I thought on the whole, we non-smokers were given the worse deal. We had to put up with the worse seats, and huddled near screaming infants who normally occupy these areas. I didn't see any vapers around there though. Because that would be a other story to be told ....

So, I had to be content with the smoking. I was sure that my shirt would be smelling of tobacco for the rest of the day. At least I had a couple hours of down time. But not for long. I already had an admission waiting at the Emergency Room. Happy Sunday all.

T'was Getting Worse

If was bad at the start of the week before improving come Wednesday after an overnight rain. Unfortunately today, the haze had returned with a vengeance. Walking to the mosque for Friday Prayers today was pretty bad.

Good thing that I don't suffer much from cough, flu or eye irritation. But I could imagine that a host of people do. The smell along the corridor at the hospital was bad. Luckily our apartment was rather well insulated. We kept the windows and door all closed for today, and decided against going out for our customary Friday evening outing. Don't think that we would have enjoyed it.

It looked like there would be no photo outing this weekend unless the situation improved. The camera to be kept in the cupboard!

A Big Launch

Lately, Pharmaceuticals are also feeling the pinch. New drug launch were hard to come by, and the ones which did see the light of day had plenty of back-end investment behind it. Rarely are these "blockbusters", and oftentimes the niche drugs were left behind.

Last night, the MSH Members were invited to attend a dinner launch of a new monocloncal antibody, Brentuximab. Touted to the the next best thing as far as Hodgkin's Lymphoma is concerned, the company behind it, Takeda were putting plenty of effort for the launch. A foreign speaker was invited to give her insight on the new drug, and we were treated to a sumptuous dinner.

There was some fanfare at the launch as well, but everybody were a bit cagey when we talked about the costing. It would be a bomb and beyond most of the average patient could afford. With the tightening of the budget and the insurance company putting more scrutiny on the patient claims, the cost would be a barrier for this - otherwise sound therapeutic agent - to penetrate the scene. The cost is even beyond your typical SJMC patient.

How do we solve this issue? A patient support or access program would be needed, tapping into the generosity of the Pharmaceutical industry so that our patients could benefit from such an advancement. It also meant that those recieving the drug had to be pre-selected, and this pre-selection process may not be clear cut.

Therefore, events such as these including sharing of the experience of those lucky enough to have been able to use the drug is vital. And this is going to be the pattern in the future. Expensive, but effective drug catering for the niche market. Unfortunately this would be typical in my field. For without the investments of the "Big Pharma" we would not be able to enjoy some downstream benefit. I was sure that if the company were to open up an access program, the cost must be recouped from their operation somewhere else - either a different arm of their business or their operations abroad in developed market.