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UK patient slams Velcade policy


A man with cancer claims a UK primary care trust will not fund an expensive course of drugs, even though other patients at the same hospital are getting the treatment.

John McNamara was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2004, and he believes the drug Velcade® (bortezomib) could help his condition.

The father-of-three claims North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) informed consultants at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, where he is being treated, that it will not pay for a course of the medication.

But Mr McNamara, 47, says he knows of patients in neighbouring West Yorkshire who are being seen by his consultant haematologist and who are being treated with Velcade.

A 24-week course of the drug costs around £21,000, but it can prolong people’s lives by up to five years.

Mr McNamara, from Pannal near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said: “I was close to breaking down when I heard what the PCT had decided.

“But we have decided that the PCT cannot be allowed to get away with this, not only for my sake but for any other patients who find themselves in the position I am in.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire and York PCT said it does not comment on individual cases, adding: “The PCT has to ensure that its commissioning plans accurately reflect the up-to-date position in terms of the clinical benefit and cost effectiveness of different treatments.”

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