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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Woman wins right to cancer drug
Glivec
Glivec, branded Gleevec in the US, is available in Europe
A cancer sufferer, who wrote to Prime Minister Tony Blair asking why she was being denied a life-saving drug, has won her battle for treatment.

Ann Tittley, 55, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, turned to Mr Blair - her constituency MP - when doctors said they were unable to prescribe a new drug to treat her leukaemia.

The drug - Glivec - is available in Scotland, but Mrs Tittley was told it could not be prescribed on the NHS in England

Now health bosses have reversed their decision and say doctors at Bishop Auckland General Hospital can prescribe the drug.

Drug budget

Mrs Tittley was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in November 2001.

Clinical trials showed Glivec could successfully treat myeloid leukaemia.

Glivec has been licensed as safe to use, but the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not yet ruled on whether the drug, which costs 18,000 a year per patient, should be prescribed throughout the NHS.

Mrs Tittley also contacted the Sedgefield primary care trust, which manages the local NHS drug budget.

After an emergency meeting of Bishop Auckland hospital's drugs and therapeutic committee, it was decided to allow her doctors to use the drug.

A spokesman for the trust said it had sought clarification on the use of Glivec and had 're-assessed' the prescribing criteria.

He said the decision not to treat Mrs Tittley had not been made on cash grounds, but on an initial interpretation of NICE guidelines.

Mrs Tittley said she was 'very thankful and very relieved' that she could now begin treatment.


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See also:

12 Jun 02 | England
28 May 02 | Health
27 Nov 01 | Health
01 Oct 01 | Scotland
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