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Home > News > Personal Injury News

21st December 2006

Alimta Appeal Rejected

An appeal has been rejected by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the life extending drug Alimta to become available on the NHS.

The life extending drug used by people suffering from the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma has been a cause of debate for some time and is currently available in some parts of the country including the North East of England on the NHS.

Although Alimta is not a cure for mesothelioma it can improve the quality of life for those suffering from the disease.

The decision was released by NICE on the 19th December with the institute dismissing 11 out of 14 points raised by the drugs manufacturer. Concerns were also raised about the cost effectiveness of the drug.

Review in the New Year

The institute is due to have another look at the drug in the New Year when a more thorough investigation is to be conducted into the way cost per life gained is calculated. Until a final decision is reached however, health trusts throughout the country can continue to prescribe the drug.

Earlier in the year NICE recommended that Alimta should not be made available on the NHS sparking a nationwide debate, including a discussion that was held in Parliament.

Disappointed Reaction

Blaydon MP David Anderson said: "I am pleased NICE decided to release this decision on Alimta before Christmas."

"However it is unfortunate NICE has chosen not to give guidance on Alimta at this stage. The decision means yet another delay for dying mesothelioma patients who have already had to wait months for this appeal to go through."

"My hope is the appeal panel will make Alimta available on the NHS once it has reviewed the cost of life gain in the New Year. Hopefully they will schedule this review to take place as soon as possible to help relieve the suffering of many asbestos victims in the North East and beyond."

Chris Knighton added: "I was disappointed when I first read the NICE decision however I now believe there is a glimmer of hope for mesothelioma victims. This decision means Primary Care Trusts in the North East can continue to prescribe Alimta if they are still prepared to give it until the point when NICE say the drug is banned."

"However, this decision has once again delayed an ultimate decision on the drug. There are many families in the North East who have been waiting over a year for NICE to make its mind up."

Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation for Clear Answers' lawyers Thompsons Solicitors comments, "This decision is disappointing, however the battle is still not lost. There is now a lot of work to do to ensure when NICE reconsiders the cost of life gain that it finally gives Alimta the guidance hundreds of mesothelioma patients and their families have been waiting for."

"I urge NICE to hold this review early in the New Year and to make a decision as fast as possible."

Compensation Claim

If you or a member of your family has contracted mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. You may even be able to make a claim for a relative who has died as a result of an asbestos-related illness.

Contact Clear Answers for further advice on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

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