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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Cancer patient family's drug plea
Tablets (generic)
The drug helps with the symptoms of cancer
A kidney cancer patient in Lincolnshire has had his request for a drug treatment on the NHS turned down.

John Harford, 63, from Thorpe on the Hill, says he is paying 3,600 a month for the drug Sutent to keep him alive, but his funds are running low.

Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust has refused to pay, saying it is a new prescription and not routinely funded.

The trust said individual requests were considered on merit and patients could appeal against decisions.

Tumour removed

Mr Harford and his wife Helen said they were worried about the future as they would eventually run out of money to pay for Sutent.

Mr Harford was diagnosed with kidney cancer a year ago.

"I am able to live a more or less normal life - it is a wonder drug.

"It makes me feel angry - I have always worked throughout my life and paid my taxes and when you want something back - it is not there.

"I have a bit of savings and can pay for the Sutent for now - but for patients who do not have savings - as far as the NHS is concerned they are going to die."

The couple had to pay 9,000 for a private operation to remove a tumour associated with the cancer.

They had the private surgery after two scheduled NHS operations were cancelled because of a shortage of intensive-care beds in Lincoln.

The trust said in a statement it had never prescribed Sutent, but always considered each request on a patient-by-patient basis, based on the published evidence of effectiveness and cost.

The Harfords have appealed to the Exceptional Case Committee and hope to hear a result in the next few days.

Cancer patient's drug plea agony
09 Mar 07 |  Lincolnshire
Obesity linked to kidney cancer
22 Sep 02 |  Health

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