Matters Arising 11 Oct and 8th Nov 2018 – Conclusions

Matters Arising 11th October: The NHS at 70 and 8 November: Big Pharma

Our last two meetings were inter-related, covering two aspects of health care. At the October meeting, we had a lively discussion about the extent to which the original model of health service delivery provided by the NHS is sustainable in a very different environment today. Most agreed that we all need to take responsibility for promoting our own health with regard to lifestyle and diet.

However, this raised  some ethical issues as to whether treatment should be withdrawn or refused in certain circumstances.

Inevitably, the issue of funding was raised , with some members of the group arguing that there needs to be a greater investment into the NHS whilst others proposed that we need to be clearer about what outcomes we wished to achieve and how we measure them, apart from just in terms of expenditure. There followed a discussion about the benefits of prevention, early intervention, the value of community based services and their links with social care.

Our November meeting dovetailed with this discussion. Does the term “Big Pharma” conjure up a demonised picture of powerful pharmaceutical companies? Led by retired pharmacist Geoff Hurst, we examined issues concerning the use of proprietary and generic drugs, whether syndromes such as ADHD have been invented in order to sell drugs such as Ritalin, the use of marketing and lobbying by drug companies, the costs, benefits and risks of research and the extent to which promotion practices by the big companies are ethical even if they are not illegal.

A special thanks to Geoff  Hurst for kicking off such an interesting  and wide-ranging debate and to all our members for their contributions.

Six new members joined the discussion – we’ll be glad to welcome them for future events.

There is no meeting in December – many of us travel or are busy with guests, so we will resume in January.

Future discussions: an interesting subject was suggested: Stem cell research. Big subject, with scientific and ethical implications, it needs to be led by a person with specialised knowledge, capable of explaining the issue to lay people – any suitable person among our members, or would you know anybody among your acquaintances, ready to lead this kind of discussion?

Do you have ideas for a discussion likely to interest group members and get their debating juices going? Suggestions are welcome. If you want to lead a discussion, that’s welcome too! Please drop us a line at:

Group leaders Geoff Corre and Piotr Azia