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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007, 12:29 GMT
Cancer patient considers new home
George King
George King is considering moving over the border

A cancer patient says he is planning to move from England to Scotland to be sure of getting a drug which may prolong his life on the NHS.

George King from Skelton, Teesside, has a rare terminal form of bone cancer.

It is currently in remission, but when it returns he wants the treatment which may extend his life - the drug Velcade.

The body which recommends which drugs the NHS should prescribe says it should not be available to patients in his position, but in Scotland it is.

In a preliminary ruling, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), argued that Velcade, otherwise known as Bortezomib, is too expensive when measured against how long it can prolong life.

Nice still has to issue its final ruling on the matter.

Are we saying that an English or Welsh life isn't worth the same as a Scottish life?
George King

A single course of treatment can cost around 25,000, and for patients in the later stages of Multiple Myeloma, such as Mr King, it can cost as much as 107,000 a year.

However, in Scotland the situation is different.

Velcade is available there because the Scottish equivalent of Nice, the Scottish Medicines Consortium, said it should be prescribed by the health service.

Mr King said it was wrong he should have to move over the border.

He said: "Are we saying that an English or Welsh life isn't worth the same as a Scottish life?

"You know, it's comparable. We live in the United Kingdom; we do not live in two separate countries."

An appeal is due to be heard next month before the appraisal process is complete and Nice publishes its final guidance.


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