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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 10:19 GMT
Cancer patient's drug plea agony
Tablets (generic)
The drug helps with the symptoms of cancer
The mother of a young cancer patient says the NHS has "left him to die" by refusing to fund his cancer drug.

Sandy Adams said the NHS had refused to pay for Sutent, a drug which improves the symptoms of renal cancer.

The family from Skegness is paying 3,500 a month for treatment for 24-year-old Nick Adams.

Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust said it considered any requests to fund the drug on an individual basis, but patients could lodge an appeal.

It said the drug was a new one that was not routinely prescribed by the PCT - each case was considered by its Exceptional Case Committee.

Health managers said they had not yet prescribed Sutent to any patients in the county since it was licensed last June.

It is spectacularly unfair that patients do not get the funding they require for new drugs
Pat Hanlon, Kidney Cancer UK

Mr Adams said he had one kidney removed, but at the end of last year he was diagnosed with cancer and told he had six weeks to live.

He said: "There are many people who have been offered treatment and drugs that cost a substantial amount of money but I have been offered nothing from the PCT at all."

His mother Sandy added: "We have re-mortgaged the house but even that is only a drop in the ocean compared to what we need in the year.

"But we can't get the one drug that we need."

She said the family had raised money by "taking around a bucket" in Skegness and depended on local donations.

"It is a constant battle - do you live or do you starve - or do you sell everything you've got? What price do you put on your son's life?"

She said the PCT should come to see her son and tell him why they would not allow him to have the drug that could keep him alive.

The drug has helped improve his quality of life, she said, adding he would probably only last six weeks.

Pat Hanlon from Kidney Cancer UK said: "It is spectacularly unfair that patients do not get the funding they require for new drugs."

He said the drug would slow down the progress of the disease and allowed patients to take advantage of other treatments like immuno-therapy.


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