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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Fight for cancer drug for woman
Friends of a Derbyshire grandmother want to reverse a decision to withhold a cancer drug they said has been given by a neighbouring authority.

Ethel Hallam, 70, from High Peak, has a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos.

She was being treated in Manchester's Wythenshawe Hospital, where her consultant recommended Alimta.

Derbyshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) will not currently fund it, following advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Ethel Hallam is currently at home, where her friends and family said she was very poorly.

Palliative treatment

They are lobbying the PCT to change its mind on giving her Alimta.

Her friend Dorothy Markides said: "I want my friend Ethel's treatment to be funded as soon as possible before it's too late by Derbyshire Primary Care Trust.

"I believe that they have a duty of care to her as does the government."

NICE made a preliminary decision that the drug was not cost effective, which is being appealed with a ruling expected in the next few weeks.

Acting director of public health for Derbyshire PCT Carol Singleton said: "This is not a curative treatment it is a palliative treatment (dealing with the symptoms rather than the underlying cause) - and there are other palliative treatments available.

"This particular drug is currently being assessed by NICE and we're expecting to have a judgement with guidance from NICE which will then be binding on all PCTs".

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