Now NHS WILL pay for cancer drug

A cancer patient who was denied life-prolonging drugs on the NHS has been told that health bosses will reverse their decision and pay for them.David Blackett, 65, was forced to pay for Sutent to treat his kidney cancer after the NHS refused to fund it but an influential committee has now agreed to fund the drug.

A cancer patient who was denied life-prolonging drugs on the NHS has been told that health bosses will reverse their decision and pay for them.

David Blackett, 65, was forced to pay for Sutent to treat his kidney cancer after the NHS refused to fund it but an influential committee has now agreed to fund the drug.

Mr Blackett, from Bunwell, was diagnosed with lung and kidney cancer at the start of this year but was told although the drug could help him it was not available to all patients.

The drug and therapeutics committee at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which considers applications from patients, supported Mr Blackett's case.


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It was then passed to the Exceptional Cases Panel, which is run by NHS Norfolk, and now that panel has agreed that the NHS should fund his drugs.

He said: “I saw my consultant and he told me that the primary care trust has agreed to pay for the drugs and for them to be provided at the hospital.

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“The PCT is funding it for me and we hope it will be rolled out to other people for whom the circum-stances are appropriate. The ultimate aim is to get NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) to change its ruling, which is that it is not clinically viable.

“There is a growing optimism that it will change that ruling. There are a lot of people who could be helped by this drug and although it would cost something like £90m, that comes from the government's health budget of something like £112bn, so they could be seen to do something good by providing it. For me it is working, and a recent scan has shown the tumour on my lungs is really small now.”

Mr Blackett's consultant argued the reduction in the size of the tumours on his lungs and kidney was proof that the drug was effective.

A spokeswoman from the Exceptional Cases Panel said: “In light of the circumstances Mr Blackett found himself in, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's Drugs and Therapeutic Committee submitted a new application to the panel for continued treatment to be funded by the NHS, and provided at the NNUH.

“It was decided by the panel, in view of the patient's changing circumstances, to fund his treatment going forward.”

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