I'm Disgusted Dying People Are Denied Drugs on Cost Grounds; Funding for Vital Treatments on the NHS Can Be a Lottery. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Reports on How One Lifesaving Drug Has Been Deemed Too Exensive

Article excerpt


THE partner of a man who died of lung cancer has slammed a decision by not to approve a life-extending drug.

A provisional decision was made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) not to accept oral tablet Tarceva, also known as Erlotinib, as a cost-effective form of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

The decision could potentially deny more than 2,000 lung cancer patients in the UK one of their last hopes of treatment.

Today the partner of George Robinson, who was waiting for the drug when he died in 2005, said she was disgusted at the decision. Anne Davis, 68, of Cramlington, said: "I was angry at the time that George was not given Tarceva and I'm angry now at the decision by NICE.

"I think it is disgusting.

There are people out there who desperately need it and they should be given all the support they can get.

This drug can't help George now but it could still save others and it should be seen as a viable option for the health service to prescribe.

"When a relative is diagnosed and dies from lung cancer it is devastating for all involved. I believe if George had been given the drug I'd have had a lot longer with him.

"In many cases Tarceva is very successful and can give a person extra time. I was with George for 12 years and since he died I feel like giving up as I miss him terribly.

"No-one should be denied their last hope of treatment and surely a price cannot be put on a person's life. It's appalling a decision has been based around cost rather than health benefits."

George, 76, died at Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington after being diagnosed with lung cancer two years earlier. …


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