Video report by ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall
Health experts have rejected Government proposals that would see an assessment of the benefits a patient may have on society being taken into account when deciding whether to pay for new drugs.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) dismissed the plans by ministers, that would see patients who contribute to the economy being given priority, according to The Times.
The head of NICE, Sir Andrew Dillon, told the newspaper that such an approach would leave the old more vulnerable, as younger patients would be seen as having more to gain from treatment, as they could put more back into society.
NICE give independent advice and guidance to the NHS, along with local authorities, charities and organisations who have the ability to commission or provide healthcare, public health or social care services.
They approve drugs which cost less than £20,000 to give a year of good-quality life.
Sir Andrew wants a similar formula to assess how a patient's quality of life is affected by illness, and then use it to estimate the social benefit of a treatment that could return them to full health.
David Cameron's official spokesman said that the Government had been very clear that there would be no age discrimination in relation to the matter.
The Department of Health say that they have asked NICE to look at the way drugs are currently assessed so that patients can get the treatments they need at the best value of the NHS.
Users of the ITV News Facebook page were asked what should be the primary concern when it comes to administering drugs:
Dannie Hanlon: The fact that this has even been considered makes me furious. It goes against everything the NHS stands for!
Kath Gwynn: It is shocking how the elderly are being made to pay over and over again after working hard all their lives. They now deserve us to care for them after all they cared for us.
Bobby Presley: Quality of life has to be the highest priority.
Karen Roebuck: A slippery slope. No one should have a right to say who is contributing to society or who has contributed more than another?