Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Herceptin drug battle woman dies

Ann Marie Rogers
Herceptin was approved for funding after a landmark ruling

A woman from Wiltshire, who won a legal fight for the right to be treated with the breast cancer drug Herceptin, has died at her home in Swindon.

Ann Marie Rogers, 57, won a landmark ruling in the High Court in 2006 against the Swindon Primary Care Trust.

Her son, Lee Woodrough, said: "She may have lost her fight against cancer but thousands of women will benefit from Herceptin because of her bravery."

The drug was prescribed to her by her oncologist and then denied by the PCT.

'Exceptional circumstances'

Yogi Amin, who represented Ann Marie Rogers throughout her legal battle, using British human rights law, said she was an "inspiration".

He said her courage and determination had paved the way for thousands of women fighting breast cancer throughout the UK to benefit from Herceptin treatment.

Every day is precious when you have someone fighting cancer in your family
Lee Woodrough - Son

During Ms Rogers' legal battle, the PCT argued that it would only fund the drug for patients in "exceptional circumstances", and that the drug was not licensed for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer which is the kind Ms Rogers had at the time.

The Court of Appeal judges ruled that the PCT's policy was "irrational and unlawful" and said that the focus should be what a doctor felt was right for their patient.

Herceptin was subsequently approved for funding by regulatory body the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Mr Woodrough said: "Tragically, in my mum's case, it could not save her life but we believe very strongly that it may well have helped her to live for as much as two years longer than if she had not been prescribed it.

"Every day is precious when you have someone fighting cancer in your family. The treatment gave her that chance to live."

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Ann Marie 'faces death sentence'
26 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire
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21 Dec 05 |  Wiltshire
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21 Feb 07 |  Wiltshire

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