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Lawyers for Anne Marie Rogers welcome nice approval for Herceptin, but anticipate further 'excuses' to deny expensive treatment

Cancer drug Herceptin available


Yogi Amin from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who successfully represented Ann Marie Rogers in her long legal battle for the life saving drug Herceptin has today welcomed the news that the drug has been granted a preliminary approval to be funded on the NHS by the regulatory body NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence). Mr Amin however warned that the wider issue of funding life saving drugs by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) would not go away. He said he anticipated further barriers to be put in place by PCTs, other than the licensing argument, to deny cancer victims the drug.

Mr Amin said "I am delighted that Herceptin is now licensed and hope this does bring an end to the agony of those people waiting for the treatment their doctor has prescribed but denied to them by the PCT managers. However as a recent Government report (1) found, even in cases of late stage HER2 cancer, for which the drug has been licensed for the last 3 years, a postcode lottery still exists."

The report (1) released by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts in January 2006 identified that even in cases of cancer for which the drug Herceptin is licensed and approved by NICE the chances of survival are dictated by a postcode lottery in drug treatment. The report states the use of the drug Herceptin for mestatic breast cancer in the 6 month period 12 to 18 months following NICE approval in early 2002 ranged across cancer networks from 90% to under 10% of eligible women.

Yogi Amin Herceptin solicitor

Mr Amin continued "I want to ensure that all PCTs now provide this drug to everyone prescribed it by their doctor. We also continue to act for a number of other cancer victims battling for life saving drugs, that their Oncologists want them to have, but which the financial managers at the PCTs are refusing to fund. There is clearly a wider issue connected to funding treatment and it will not go away unless the government act to provide clear direction on the approval of new drugs and therapies to be provided on the NHS.

"There has been great stress and health detriment caused to women across the country by the delay in providing this drug in parts of the NHS. The evidence of the clinical effectiveness of this drug has been available for a long time but some NHS managers have chosen, for costs reasons, to overrule the treating doctor's decision to prescribe the drug."

If you require further information please contact Yogi Amin on 0370 1500 100 or yogi.amin@irwinmitchell.com.

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