NICE rejects use of Alimta as treatment for patients dying of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure
Following our last report on 4th January 2007, on the use of Alimta, a drug used for patients suffering from mesothelioma (a type of cancer which most often affects the lining of the lungs and is mainly linked to asbestos exposure), The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has now announced its decision not to allow the use of the drug for patients suffering from mesothelioma.
According to a review published in The Cochrane Library in February 2007; Alimta "significantly increases the length of survival, as well as relieves symptoms of mesothelioma". But despite these benefits, in the latest communication concerning the use of the licensed chemotherapy, Alimta (pemetrexed disodium), NICE makes the recommendation that “pemetrexed disodium is not recommended for the treatment of (malignant pleural) mesothelioma".
NICE made this recommendation despite calls for the the drug to be available to mesothelioma sufferers. The recommendation has been criticised by leading medical experts as it will make it almost impossible for clinicians to prescribe Alimta which is the only licensed treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
"NICE has lost all credibility with mesothelioma sufferers and victim support groups following this and other similar decisions involving lung cancer. Clinicians specialising in the treatment of mesothelioma sufferers agree that treatment involving Alimta is often the only treatment available that is clinically proven to be effective. Mesothelioma sufferers can continue to receive treatment with Alimta from the NHS in a few areas but perhaps not for long. Elsewhere treatment is now to be limited to those who can pay privately.
Where there is a valid compensation claim against an employer we can add the cost of this treatment to the claim, and have done so successfully in the past. Where the sufferer has sufficient savings or has received a sufficient payment under the Pneumoconiosis Scheme then they can receive treatment now and try to recover the cost later. But that is not often an option. Most mesothelioma claimants will not be able to afford clinically recommended treatment with Alimta before they have concluded a compensation claim, by which time it might be too late. Where a full course of treatment may cost up to £20,000 this is means-testing of the cruellest kind."
Fieldfisher (FFW) is a leader in the field of mesothelioma claims. In 2006, our Asbestos Claims Practice recovered over £10 million in compensation in over 80 cases for victims of asbestos-related diseases. Over the past 25 years we have recovered over £100 million compensation for asbestos victims.
You can find out more information about how we can help making an asbestos compensation claim by using the link provided.