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A health think-tank has called for government policy to be changed to allow patients to pay for drugs to top up their NHS care.
The King’s Fund said that, “in certain circumstances”, patients should be able to pay privately for drugs that have been rejected for use on the NHS due to high costs. They are prevented from doing so at the moment by the current policy, which states that patients who wish to pay privately for drugs can be barred from the normal package of NHS care.
Patients wishing to pay for treatment over and above what they would have normally received should be allowed to do so without jeopardising their entitlement to the rest of their treatment on the NHS, the King’s Fund said.
Its statement follows a High Court ruling that a cancer sufferer with just a couple of months to live should be given access to a life-prolonging drug.
Colin Ross’s desperate “end-of-the-road” legal challenge followed a refusal by West Sussex Primary Care Trust to fund treatment with the new drug Revlimid, which has not yet been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
The High Court judge described the refusal as “logically flawed” and unlawful and ordered that the 55-year-old should start receiving immediate treatment for his multiple myeloma.
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