Anti-smoking drugs in health basket

Health basket to include

Following days of deliberations and controversy over Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman's dental care decision, the Committee for Recommending Additions to the Basket of Health Services on Wednesday revealed the 80 new drugs and technologies which will be added to the health basket this year. The drugs, which will aid about 70,000 patients, include anti-smoking medication such as Zyben and Champix, to be handed out free of charge to 6,000 patients undergoing detoxification at a cost of NIS 6.6 million. "The most expensive oncologic drug could not prevent years of disease the way anti-smoking drugs can," said council head Prof. Rafi Bi'or. The council did its best to meet the needs of cancer and kidney patients. In 2010, 140 myeloma patients will be able to acquire Revlimid, a thalidomide shown to be an effective secondary treatment method. 500 psoriasis patients will be given biologic drugs, while women afflicted with advanced stages of breast cancer would be able to receive Tykerb or Herceptin. Those afflicted with Parkinson's disease, meanwhile, would be entitled to Azilect tablets, said to slow the deterioration of the patient's condition. Kidney cancer patients were allotted the most expensive drug in the basket, at a cost of NIS 34 million. Alzheimer's patients and schizophrenics will also receive cutting-edge treatment as a result of the council's decision.