Drug improves quality of life for victims of asbestos related illness, mesothelioma
Members of Parliament from across the UK have shown support for a campaign by North East MP Fraser Kemp for continued access to a life-extending cancer drug for mesothelioma sufferers. An Early Day Motion in the House of Commons has attracted signatures from over 50 MPs.*
The Members of Parliament have put their weight behind the fight to ensure cancer drug Alimta continues to be made available on the NHS for free for those suffering with the fatal asbestos-related cancer.
Mr Kemp called for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to revise its decision on Alimta. Mr Kemp said: “This is a really important issue because mesothelioma has affected the lives of many people. If this drug can prolong life it should be available on the NHS."
Earlier this year NICE failed to approve the drug for use on the NHS. Alimta is not a cure for mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos, but it does reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for many users.
Chris Knighton of the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund praised support from the MPs. She added: “I am appalled that the only licensed drug for the treatment of mesothelioma is not being approved. NICE agree the use of Alimta is effective treatment but say it’s not cost effective."
“What price can you put on a life which has been tragically cut short often by doing no more than an honest days work? Alimta is not a cure for sufferers but can reduce symptoms and maintains a better quality of life for longer. But once again sufferers of this particularly cruel disease are being denied the right to the best care and treatment available."
The national law firm Thompsons Solicitors supported the campaign to gain approval for the use of Alimta on the NHS in the North East late last year.
Head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors, Ian McFall said: “It is good to see support in Parliament for the continued fight to ensure Alimta is made available for those it could help the most.”
* List of MPs who have signed:
Name Party Constituency
Fraser Kemp Labour Houghton and Washington East
Bob Spink Conservative Castle Point
Mike Penning Conservative Hemel Hempstead
Lindsay Hoyle Labour Chorley
Andrew George Liberal Democrats St Ives
Alan Meale Labour Mansfield
Greg Pope Labour Hyndburn
Edward O'Hara Labour Knowsley South
Martin Caton Labour Gower
Derek Conway Conservative Old Bexley and Sidcup
Jeremy Corbyn Labour Islington North
Janet Dean Labour Burton
Mark Durkan Social Democratic and Labour Party Foyle
Hywel Francis Labour Aberavon
Mike Hancock Liberal Democrats Portsmouth South
Peter Bottomley Conservative Worthing West
Ann Winterton Conservative Congleton
Nicholas Winterton Conservative Macclesfield
John Hemming Liberal Democrats Birmingham Yardley
Ian Austin Labour Dudley North
Jim Sheridan Labour Paisley and Renfrewshire North
Sylvia Hermon Ulster Unionist Party North Down
Chris McCafferty Labour Calder Valley
John McDonnell Labour Hayes and Harlington
Gregory Campbell Democratic Unionist Party Londonderry East
Ann Cryer Labour Keighley
John Cummings Labour Easington
Andrew Dismore Labour Hendon
David Drew Labour Stroud
Clive Efford Labour Eltham
Rudi Vis Labour Finchley and Golders Green
Betty Williams Labour Conwy
David Anderson Labour Blaydon
John Leech Liberal Democrats Manchester Withington
Paul Holmes Liberal Democrats Chesterfield
Eric Illsley Labour Barnsley Central
Nigel Dodds Democratic Unionist Party Belfast North
Jeff Ennis Labour Barnsley East and Mexborough
Derek Wyatt Labour Sittingbourne and Sheppey
Madeleine Moon Labour Bridgend
Paul Rowen Liberal Democrats Rochdale
Adam Price Plaid Cymru Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
David Heyes Labour Ashton under Lyne
George Howarth Labour Knowsley North and Sefton East
Andrew Miller Labour Ellesmere Port and Neston
David Clelland Labour Tyne Bridge
Bill Etherington Labour Sunderland North
Ian Stewart Labour Eccles
David Taylor Labour North West Leicestershire
Sammy Wilson Democratic Unionist Party East Antrim
Justine Greening Conservative Putney
John McFall Labour West Dunbartonshire
Frank Field Labour Birkenhead
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