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Expense of cancer drug Velcade could cost cancer sufferers their lives

Cancer drug Velcade


The wife of a Croydon cancer sufferer has labelled the decision not to allow a life prolonging drug Velcade on the NHS as a "death sentence". 

Like many other sufferers of multiple myeloma and their relatives Jennifer Richardson has been fighting to make Velcade available, her husband John, 58 is suffering with multiple myeloma.

However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said recently that the drug, which costs around £18,000 per patient, is not cost effective - it has however been made available in Scotland.

Speaking about the decision, Jennifer said: "I just wonder why we bother to do cancer research.

"John is very angry. Most of the drugs used to treat myeloma go through NICE so what will they do next?"

Cancer charities have also criticised the decision. Chief executive of Myeloma UK, Eric Low, said: "This represents probably the single biggest setback in the history of the treatment of myeloma and the entire myeloma community is devastated about the decision.

"NICE is explicit in its final guidance that Velcade is clinically effective and recognise the lack of an alternative. That fact is not up for dispute; rather, this is an unmistakable instance of where the cost of treatment is seen as more important than peoples' lives."

If you or someone you know has been denied treatment, our solicitors can help. Visit our public law section.