Life is so precious that it seems silly to want to put a price on it. It should be priceless. Yet this is a bit morbid matter that health services must inevitably ask patients or their families. They have a budget constrained by ill or dying person and when a new drug appears, they must make a choice. We must decide whether the month earned on death “worth” the price that it costs. Instinctively, we respond that we want to do everything in our power to help those we love, whatever the cost. Yet the answer is not so easy.

Dominic Wilkinson, a physician in intensive care at the University of Oxford, looked at it and asked people to really think about what they would be inclined to pay for a longer life .

In the words of Dr. reported by BBC , drugs for terminal illnesses are judged on two criteria: how much they increase the life expectancy and quality of life of the patient. A scale is used to measure these criteria: Quality Adjusted Life Year-saved (QALY or life expectancy adjusted for quality of life in French). For example, a drug that would prolong the life of one year in the lives of half less than before, the figure would be 0.5 on this scale.

Approximately 40,000 euros for one more year

From these calculations, a health service can calculate the price of the drug according to its value. The average price would be between 30,000 and 45,000 euros for each additional year of life. Medications may be excluded from treatment because too expensive.

According to BBC , yet some people would see this price decrease to invest more in research of drugs for people with terminal illnesses. For the doctor Dominic Wilkinson, regardless of the price, what is important is to help patients. A study in Singapore in this direction because it shows that people are willing to pay more for a support in palliative care at home for a drug that some extension of life. Others blame these months earned on death to be against nature, for such medications are pushing the natural limits of life.

Many of us may be faced one day of such decisions. Everyone, at any age, should think about the value of his life and what is done to it worthwhile.

ED