Tuesday, 13 May 2008

NHS ‘postcode lottery’ forces ill man to move

A DESPERATELY-ILL cancer patient is planning to move from North Yorkshire to County Durham to get a drug on the NHS which could prolong his life.

The 51-year-old pipeline engineer - who has asked not to be named but lives in Malton - said he has had to consider moving to his former address, near Bishop Auckland, in an attempt to qualify for treatment with a drug called Tarceva.

It follows a decision by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust to turn down his consultant's application for funding for the £20,000-a-year drug.

The North-East is the only region in England where the NHS will fund Tarceva. The drug is available in Scotland and most of Europe.

But the English drug watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), recently indicated it is likely to reject the use of Tarceva on the NHS. Nice said the drug was not cost-effective. The drug has prolonged the lives of some patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

By Barry Nelson

Full article here