Cancer victim makes last appeal for much needed treatment

Bid To Be Prescribed Nexavar

20.02.2007

Renal cancer sufferer, Keith Ditchfield from Stoneyhurst, Clitheroe will make a final Appeal to his Primary Care Trust this week (22nd February) for the right to be prescribed Nexavar, a life prolonging cancer treatment.

Fifty three year old Keith who suffers with advanced kidney cancer has previously been denied the treatment by East Lancashire NHS PCT, despite his doctors being able to prove that the drug is increasing his rate of survival.

Diagnosed with the disease in 2005 following a routine bowel operation, Keith has spent the last 18 months in and out of hospitals both in the UK and abroad. He has undergone ground-breaking radio-surgery in Munich, Germany.

Keith first learnt about Nexavar on the internet and is currently buying the drug from Germany at a cost of £3,000 a month, £600 less than it would cost him to buy in the UK.

Commenting Keith said: "I can't believe I am having to fight for the right to be prescribed a drug that is saving my life. The last few years have been incredibly traumatic. I have undergone major surgery on several occasions and have repeatedly been worn down as I have learnt of the re-growth of tumours in my body."

He continued: "Since I began taking Nexavar last year my survival rate has increased, I am currently progression free, this drug is working for me and I need it."

Ben Gent from Irwin Mitchell, the law firm which successfully fought for women to receive Herceptin, and now represents prostate cancer sufferers in Wales campaigning for brachytherapy treatment said:

"This is another case of postcode prescription, one which highlights inconsistencies in cancer treatment within the UK and the greater availability of effective treatment in other parts of Europe. Keith's is one of the first cases of country code prescription and it is alarming to think that as a UK citizen he must resort to buying in his treatment from abroad.

"Keith is an exceptional case. He has had overwhelming support from a team of cancer specialists, he is unusual because standard treatment will not work on his type of cancer and he can even prove this drug is working for him. It is to be hoped that the Trust will take account of these factors in reaching their decision on Thursday."

Keith's Appeal will be heard on Thursday 22nd February at 10.30am at East Lancashire Primary Care Trusts HQ in Nelson.

If Keith's Appeal fails he will seek advice in respect of a judicial review.