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Cancer sufferers fighting for drug

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http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/featu ... r_drug.php

Two lung cancer sufferers denied funding for a life-prolonging drug tell SARA NELSON why they are backing a petition calling for it to be prescribed for free.

RAY Ferris and Linda Gordon both have terminal lung cancer.

They have been refused funding for the tumour-shrinking drug Tarceva by Bromley Primary Care Trust.

The pair have now added their names to an online petition on the Downing Street website, calling for Prime Minister Tony Blair to make the drug available to sufferers.

The petition, which was started in February by the husband of a fellow sufferer, has nearly 1,000 signatures and will be online for a further 11 months.

Once the deadline is reached, the petition will be passed to officials who work for the Prime Minister or sent to the Department of Health.

Mr Ferris and Mrs Gordon say their applications were refused by the trust due to "finite resources" and "limited evidence of effectiveness".

Now they are both paying for the drug themselves - at a cost of around £2,500 a month each.

Mr Ferris, of Hillcrest Road, Orpington, said: "This petition is for all of us who might be in this situation in the future and especially for those of us who can't afford the drug today.

"It is the principle of the matter. I want to encourage people to sign it.

"Lung cancer gets such a bad press.

"People think you must have smoked all your life to have it but the fact of the matter is most people, such as Linda and myself, have never smoked."

Mr Ferris had his application for the drug turned down in July last year and has been funding it himself since October.

The father-of-two is preparing to take legal action against the trust's decision.

He said: "I had a persistent cough since 1989 which has gone away completely thanks to the Tarceva.

"None of the chemo helped with that, while scans and X-rays have shown both of my lungs are improving.

"I had a tumour in my neck which was beginning to burst through the skin. That has gone and stayed down."

Mrs Gordon, of Southborough Lane, Bromley, took her battle to the High Court in September last year and received a month of drug funding from the trust.

But subsequent requests for funding have been refused and the mother-of-two is preparing to return to court.

Mrs Gordon, 47, said: "As far as I'm concerned, the more publicity the better.

"We have to fight this all the way."

The trust refuses to comment on individual cases.

A spokesman said: "The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published its preliminary findings on Tarceva.

"Its view is the drug is not recommended for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

"Following a period of consultation, NICE will finalise its recommendation in April."

To sign the petition, visit the website http://petitions.pm.gov.


What is Tarceva?

TARCEVA, developed in the US in the 1990s, is a tablet taken orally to treat cancer.

The pill is designed to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells and hence prolong the patient's life.

Each Tarceva tablet costs around £70. Tablets are taken daily throughout treatment.

1:10pm today

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This is an ongoing Battle ANd I have volunteered to help with any research that may help ouor UK Members get this Drug Made available Jen who we know as Jross is working up an activist group to get this reversed. Thanks for posting this Rich, and hope you are doing Ok.

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