Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 11:23 UK

Man in cancer drug health threat

Jean Murphy
Jean Murphy says she is frightened of dying without the drug

A seriously ill husband says he will stop his vital medication if his wife - who looks after him - is refused a cancer treatment drug.

Jean Murphy, 63, of Salford, went to court after Salford Primary Care Trust refused to pay for the drug.

The High Court told the trust to reconsider its decision.

Her lawyer will tell an NHS panel Michael Murphy, 55, will halt his heart and diabetes treatment if they again refuse his wife the drug Sutent.

Mrs Murphy believes Sutent, which costs 3,500 per month, could prolong her life.

But the drug has not been approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Salford Primary Care Trust will not pay for it.

However, the drug is available in Cheshire and Merseyside.

When she was first told the trust would not pay for the drug, Mrs Murphy said: "There's no other thing for me to have and I'm frightened of dying - really frightened of dying."

She has undergone several unsuccessful treatments to slow the cancer's progress and her consultant said she would be an ideal candidate for Sutent.

The drug is only available to people in Greater Manchester through clinical trials - and she does not fit the criteria although she is the sole carer of her husband, who also has major health problems.

Hope for change

Salford-born music mogul Anthony Wilson, who died from kidney cancer in August, was also refused NHS funding for Sutent despite doctors recommending he take it.

Mark McGhee, lawyer for the Murphys, said he will urge an NHS panel, which meets later on Thursday, to reconsider.

He said he will tell them about the threat by Mr Murphy and hopes they will change their minds.

A spokesman for the trust said they could not comment in advance of the meeting.

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