Drugs dilemma

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Holyrood finds an extra £20 million on top of £19m currently reported spent on newer drugs used to treat some 200 patients suffering from rare health disorders (your report, 8 October).

This emphasises again the dilemma of meeting with compassion the desires of those with (usually) terminal conditions whose lives can be extended for a while using these costly agents.

Some folk might feel that these millions could be better spent on managing the health issues of so many more patients suffering from more widespread ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or strokes, or even on the essential upgrading of older hospitals such as Raigmore in Inverness.

It is to be hoped that society can agree on the compassionate approach, but our health secretary needs to spell out the overall financial implications.

It is undesirable to take a rigid position on the issue, but at this time of increasing austerity, the allocation of so many millions might be thought to need wider scrutiny.

Joe Darby