North East MP David Anderson is questioning the Department for Health over the future of mesothelioma drug Alimta19 February 2007
Exposure to asbestos
Mr Anderson, MP for Blaydon, has submitted a parliamentary question to the Government asking when the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) will report back on approval of the chemotherapy treatment.
Alimta is said to extend the lives of those suffering mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos but Alimta is said to help make sufferers more comfortable during their last months.
The drug could help scores of mesothelioma sufferers across the UK and in the North East. Many have been waiting for over a year to find out if the drug will be used on the NHS.
Last month Nice predicted that it would not be in a position to give guidance on the drug Alimta until September 2007.
It means by the time Nice finally announces if it is going to make Alimta available on the NHS campaign groups will have been fighting the cause for almost two years.
Mr Anderson has given his backing to the campaign.
Mesothelioma drug Alimta
But following an appeal to Nice by Alimta manufacturers Eli Lilly, Nice said it would take another look at the drug and its appraisal committee would look at the way cost per life gained was calculated.
It is understood that health trusts in the UK who are offering Alimta can continue to do so until a final decision is made by Nice.
Thompsons Solicitors, head of asbestos policy Ian McFall said: "I look forward to hearing the Department for Health’s answer to Mr Anderson’s question. I hope they take the stance that a decision should be made on Alimta as soon as possible so that scores of people in the North East and others across the UK are no longer left in limbo".
Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.
The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.
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