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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 22:01 GMT
Cancer man wins drug funding plea
Mike Gray
Mike Gray has won an appeal to have his cancer drugs funded
A cancer patient who was forced to pay out thousands of pounds for life-saving drugs has won his battle for funding.

Mike Gray, who has terminal bowel cancer, was forced to pay 3,400 per fortnight for the drug cetuximab.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium said it was not cost-effective because it could only prolong life, not cure him.

Mr Gray, 53, from Buckie in Moray, appealed to NHS Grampian, which reversed its decision, and will now pay for the drugs and reimburse his costs.

There is a sense of mixed emotions
Mike Gray

The decision was made at a meeting with the exceptional circumstances panel of NHS Grampian, in the Aberdeenshire village of Insch.

Mr Gray asked the NHS - which had accepted the SMC advice not to fund his drugs - to reconsider, arguing his case merited special consideration.

Following the decision, he said: "There is a sense of mixed emotions, between being happy for myself but also thinking there is a wider debate about how the treatment of people with terminal illness, particularly terminal cancer, is dealt with."

Preserving life for as long as possible should be the responsibility of the NHS, he added.

'A difficult time'

A spokeswoman for the health board said: "NHS Grampian's exceptional circumstances panel has concluded that Mr Gray has benefited more from the treatment than would normally be expected.

"He will now be prescribed cetuximab, funded by NHS Grampian. All his costs previously incurred will be reimbursed in full.

"We understand this has been a difficult time for Mr Gray and his family. We also acknowledge that as a staged process it must seem slow and obstructive.

"However, we believe the arrangements are robust and absolutely necessary in order to reach sound clinical decisions."

SEE ALSO
Cancer man pleas for drug funding
24 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
Weighing up the cost of treatment
25 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Call for quicker drug decisions
10 Jan 08 |  Health

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