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Published on 13 October 2008

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NHS Trust approves “expensive” cancer drug


A healthcare trust has agreed to provide a life-saving drug free on the NHS in a landmark case brought by a woman with terminal cancer.

Carol Rummels, from Bristol, was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer last summer and given just two months to live. However, after taking the drug Tarceva the tumours shrank, prolonging her life by another year.

She has been paying out £1,500 from her savings every month for the past six months to pay for the tablets because South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust said it would not “routinely” fund the drug.

Mrs Rummels, 61, has now successfully appealed against the trust’s decision, meaning that other cancer sufferers in the area will also be given Tarceva on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had deemed Tarceva too expensive to be paid for by the NHS.

However, earlier this month it agreed to review the decision after it was shown to prolong life for at least a year in 40% of people with terminal lung cancer, and for more than two years in 15% of people.

The final decision is expected next year, and in the meantime, PCTs can use their discretion and decide whether or not to administer Tarceva.

Copyright PA Business 2008


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