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Cancer patient wins Tarceva therapy funding fight


A pensioner in the UK is celebrating after winning his battle to get funding on the NHS for a £1,600-a-month life-prolonging cancer drug.

Harry White, 73, from Workington, was offered a trial of Tarceva® (erlotinib) after he was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer last May.

The drug can relieve symptoms and prolong life, but Mr White was later told that it was not available on the NHS in England.

As a result, he and his family have been funding the treatment themselves – even though patients in Scotland can get it for free.

He and wife Jean wrote to Cumbria Primary Care Trust (PCT) calling on bosses to fund the drug as a one-off case.

But they were told this would not be possible as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not approved it.

However, after submitting a formal appeal, the PCT has now overturned its original decision and agreed to pay for a course of treatment.

Mr and Mrs White received a letter from their GP confirming that the trust will pay for the treatment for the next few months.

The letter adds that the decision will then be reviewed, and if the treatment is seen to be beneficial the funding may be extended further.

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Cumbria Primary Care Trust

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