Cancer drugs decision is a step in the right direction

By Richard Lewis at January 22nd, 2009

The news in today’s Western Mail that our Health Minister’s telling all Local Health Boards in Wales to fund four kidney cancer drugs is a welcome move and should hopefully provide some comfort to families in desperate need of the medication.

The drugs in question are Sutent, Nexavar, Avastin and Torisel, which haven’t yet been approved by Nice for use in the NHS, because official guidance has been delayed, once again, until March. It seems Edwina Hart has decided families, who’ve campaigned for a long time to get funding for the drugs on the NHS, have waited long enough. It should put an end to a post-code lottery situation which seems to have been allowed to develop, where some patients living in certain parts of Wales have had requests for Sutent accepted, while others in others areas have had theirs turned down.

It should be pointed out that this decision by Edwina Hart is only a temporary measure until guidance comes into force from Nice. Let’s hope LHBs now roll out this important change as soon as possible, with many patients already having experienced enough of a delay in treatment.

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