‘Care Must Be Taken’ In Cancer Drug Fund Changes

Legal Experts React To Reported Amendment To Availability Of Medications


Specialist lawyers who have helped patients in legal fights to access vital drugs have revealed their concerns regarding the decision to remove specific cancer medication from the NHS’s Cancer Drugs Fund list.

The Guardian reports that drugs being removed include Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, which is believed to extend the life of cancer patients by up to six months.

It is believed the step has been taken as a result of the Cancer Drugs Fund overspending and the changes mean that while patients already receiving the treatment will continue to do so, others will not get access.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team have vast experience in helping patients across the country take action regarding problems related to health and social care, notably successfully acting for a breast cancer sufferer to gain access to the drug Herceptin after the NHS had refused access.

The firm’s experts also helped another client gain an injunction to receive the cancer drug Tarceva to alleviate symptoms and prolong his life.

Commenting on the changes to the NHS list, Anne-Marie Irwin, a specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said it was vital that absolute care is taken to any changes regarding the availability of drug treatment.

Expert Opinion
“Assessing and ensuring that cancer patients have access to effective medication is of course a tremendously difficult and incredibly emotive issue.

“As such, every step has to be taken to ensure that any decisions regarding medication are carefully considered. Sadly, we have seen instances when patients have suffered as a result of unfair restrictions imposed by the NHS and other authorities.

“The safety and care of sufferers should always come first and it is vital that these changes do not lead to the restriction of drug treatment that not only has the support of the patient’s NHS doctor but can also prolong – and in some cases save – people’s lives.”
Anne-Marie Irwin, Associate