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Lawyers issue legal proceedings for woman denied Tarceva cancer drug by her Primary Care Trust

Denied drug claim - Tarceva cancer drug


Lawyers for Linda Gordon (47) who is dying of lung cancer have today issued proceedings to take her Primary Care Trust (PCT) to the High Court in a bid for her to get the cancer drug, Tarceva, which her doctor has prescribed for her.

Ms Gordon, who has two daughters Charlie (28) and Jody (20), has been forced to fund an initial dose of this drug herself as she has been refused funding by Bromley PCT. A life-long non-smoker, Ms Gordon was described by her consultant oncologist, Dr Prendiville, as absolutely the ideal patient to be treated with this agent [Tarceva or Erlotinib]

An independent report by Dr Jeremy Steele a consultant thoracic oncologist has confirmed that Ms Gordon is the ideal patient for the drug which could extend her life for up to 18 months.

Dr Steele states in the report that a number of factors including being female, young, fit and a non-smoker place Ms Gordon in a small minority of lung cancer patients who are likely to benefit most strongly from the treatment. Large-scale clinical trials and case studies have shown that for those who respond well to the treatment it can have outstanding results in terms of fighting the progression of the disease and significantly reducing the pain and other symptoms suffered by patients in the advanced stages of lung cancer.

Ms Gordon says that already the few weeks of the tablets that she has been able to afford have made an incredible difference to her symptoms and given her a new lease of life. She believes that this shows the treatment is acting to shrink the tumours, as has been the case for other patients treated with the drug.

Legal action for right to denied Tarceva cancer drug

The law firm Irwin Mitchell who represents Ms Gordon and which also successfully fought for Ann Marie Rogers to receive the drug Herceptin, has highlighted the fact that it is not only the provision of the drug that varies dependent on where you live in the UK, but also the price charged by the PCT for those forced to fund it themselves.

One of the other patients fighting for Tarceva, who sadly died last month having just won the right to receive the drug, Paul Bould, was charged only £1500 for a months treatment. Mrs Gordon has managed to pay for the drug, for a month, at a cost of £2100.

However this cost was achieved after much negotiation as Ms Gordon had to haggle the price down from the original quoted amount of £3400. Ms Gordon is now unable to pay for any more of the tablets and is therefore taking her fight to the High Court to force the PCT to continue to pay for the treatment her consultant has recommended.

The Irwin Mitchell lawyer representing Ms Gordon, Kate Fletcher, said: It would seem that the cost of this drug is arbitrary, and varies depending on where you live and your ability to negotiate. We would ask both the Department of Health and the drug firms to justify the costs of these drugs and how their pricing mechanism works.

Ms Fletcher added To prevent Ms Gordon having to fund any more treatments, and ensure she gets the drug her doctor has prescribed for her, we are now issuing proceedings against the decision by the PCT to deny Linda this drug. We will be starting a judicial review against this decision and hope that doctors are recognised as being the best people to treat patients

Do you have a claim? If you or someone you know has been effected by a similar case of being denied drugs for treatment, our solicitors can help. Visit our public law section.