Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire campaign to keep NHS leukaemia drug

A man from Worcestershire is campaigning against plans to discontinue a leukaemia drug for patients on the NHS.

Kris Griffin, 36, from Kidderminster, was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) four years ago and said the Dasatinib drug had saved his life.

It costs £30,000 per patient and NHS advisory body NICE said evidence for the drug's effectiveness was weak.

Mr Griffin's campaign is backed by Wyre Forest Conservative MP Mark Garnier.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a review of Dasatinib.

It said: "The evidence for the effectiveness of Dasatinib, high-dose Imatinib and Nilotinib is very weak.

"When we recommend the use of very expensive treatments, we need to be confident that they bring sufficient additional benefit to justify their cost."

'Doing a disservice'

Mr Griffin said: "It's disgusting. If there's a treatment that's available for people, it should be available to them, that's what the NHS is about.

"I firmly believe that we are only as good as the weakest members of our society and by taking this away we are doing them a disservice."

Before he was prescribed Dasatinib, Mr Griffin had been put on other drugs for leukaemia that had slower progress.

Image caption Mr Garnier said one possible solution was for consultants to apply to the cancer drug fund

After two-and-a-half months on Dasatinib he said it had made a "massive difference to him" and he was told he had gone into remission.

He said the drugs worked, the problem was the sample was quite small because on average only 550 people a year were diagnosed with that type of leukaemia.

Mr Griffin is now supporting the "NICE Be NICE to Cancer Patients" petition by CML Support charity to persuade the advisory body to change its review.

Mr Garnier has written to Earl Howe, parliamentary under secretary of state with special responsibility for NICE, to ask him to reconsider the recommendation.

The MP said consultants could also apply for a share of £21m cancer drug funding if they wanted a drug not recommended by NICE.

An Early Day Motion rejecting the NICE review has also been put forward by the Labour MP for Mansfield Alan Meale and has so far been signed by 39 MPs.

NICE is due to make its final recommendation about the use of the drug on Friday.

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