New cancer not supported by NHS

NHSGraeme Johnstone, 54, was denied from giving a life-saving drug as the local NHS trust refused it. This step has been criticised following the continuing difficulties UK patients face in getting access to the latest drugs.

Graeme is suffering from advanced kidney cancer and he says that it is difficult to get drugs as the present system for acquiring new drugs is totally inadequate and needs a change.

Johnstone’s comments came on the day National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) advised the NHS not to pay for Tyverb. Costing about £25,000 a year, this drug is believed to be effective against advanced breast cancer that is widely available in Europe.

As the drug’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, offered to bear the cost of the first three months of treatment still Nice decision was taken.

Figures from drug manufacturers and Nice suggests that the cost of new drugs could be more like £600m but the coalition Government has said it will put aside an additional £200m to pay for new cancer drugs.

Mr Johnstone said, “The drugs which have been requested for me are licensed for use in Europe the US and Canada. So they have already been assessed as safe and effective.”

A spokeswoman for NHS County Durham and Darlington said, “Funding had been declined under the PCT’s exceptional circumstances guidelines because of Nice guidance and the lack of exceptionality.”