Government drugs watchdog backs Alimta
In a reversal of a previous ruling, the Government's drugs watchdog said today that the drug Alimta, designed to treat asbestos-related cancer, should be made available on the NHS. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), has recommended prescribing Alimta for patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma who are unsuited to surgery, in England and Wales. This follows on from the decision last summer not to make the drug available on prescription, on the grounds it was not cost-effective. The decision was widely criticised.
The original guidance issued by NICE that Alimta was not suitable for the treatment of mesothelioma in the NHS was challenged by the manufacturer, by medical groups and by patients' charities in January 2007. NICE later gave guidance that the drug was not suitable for the treatment of lung cancer either. Since then in some cases it has been possible to include the cost of treatment in a compensation claim (Need to do link to a case) but patients have often had to find the cost of treatment themselves with no guarantee that the cost will be recovered later. In addition since Alimta was simply not available on the NHS in some areas the drug was not always being considered as a treatment option.
"We are very pleased that NICE has recommended the use of this drug for many mesothelioma sufferers where it is clinically indicated. NICE recommends further research to compare this drug with others and their recommendation will be reviewed in September 2010.
We are particularly pleased that funding issues no longer prevent this drug being considered as a treatment option, so that clinical considerations alone hold sway. It is also very helpful that mesothelioma sufferers do not have the extra worry and burden of trying to pay privately for expensive treatment.
Now that NICE has given Alimta its blessing we hope that the funding Patient Care Trusts (PCTs) will step up to the mark and make this drug available wherever and whenever it is needed".
Fieldfisher 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.