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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 18:08 GMT
Man wins battle for cancer drug
Glivec
Mr Scott's appeal for Glivec was twice rejected by his PCT
A cancer patient from Cumbria has won the right to receive life-saving drugs on the NHS.

Mike Scott, 58, from Barrow-in-Furness, suffers from gastro-intestinal stromale tumour (Gist), a rare stomach cancer, which surgery had failed to cure.

The drug Glivec was felt to be his last hope, and following a six-month battle, Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust agreed to fund the 37,000-a-year treatment.

However, the trust denies this will set a precedent for other sufferers.

The PCT twice rejected Mr Scott's appeals to fund Glivec on the grounds that the dosage he requires is double the amount recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) and is not cost effective in patients with progressive disease.

But at a third appeal hearing the PCT reversed its decision when presented with evidence about Glivec's effectiveness from cancer experts.

'Individual circumstances'

Dr Frank Atherton, director of public health for Morecambe Bay PCT, said: "We looked three times at the evidence and it was what we previously found.

"What was different this time is we had information from a lot of experts and it was apparent there is a degree of clinical consensus at variance with Nice guidance.

"That body of opinion should outweigh the formal evidence in this case."

Mr Scott, and cancer support groups, believe the ruling will pave the way for other Gist sufferers to obtain Glivec in the same way that a nurse with breast cancer paved the way for other women to receive the drug Herceptin.

But in his letter outlining the reasons for agreeing to fund Glivec, Dr Leigh Griffin, chief executive of the Morecambe Bay PCT, wrote: "This decision is not a precedent and takes account of your individual circumstances."

The ruling will be highlighted at a Gist convention for doctors being held in London in April.

Glivec is made by the Swiss company Novartis.




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