August 9, 2008

Patient Condemns Moves to Axe Drug

By Barry Nelson

A CANCER patient who has survived in the past year because of a wonder drug has condemned plans to deny it to other patients because of the cost.

Stan Craddock, 63, from Darlington, said he survived the past ten months because of the drug Sutent.

Last night, he said he could not believe that such a powerful cancer drug was effectively going to be banned by the NHS.

This followed the draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) that four kidney cancer drugs, including Sutent, were not costeffective enough to be used on the NHS.

?I take a daily pill which means I can live amore or less normal life. I just think they have got it wrong about Sutent, ? said Mr Craddock, who has advanced kidney cancer.

Mr Craddock, a retired steel fabricator, has had two major operations in the past five years to try to stop his cancer spreading.

In November last year, his NHS consultant prescribed him Sutent as a last resort.

Now he is enjoying life and making themost of time with his wife, Alison, and his tenyear-old daughter, Lee.

After being told he had no hope, he cannot believe that other kidney cancer patients will be denied Sutent in the future, unless charities and experts can persuade Nice to change itsmind between now and January.

Sutent is widely used in Europe and the US and costs about [pounds]30,000 a year per patient.

Mr Craddock said: ?I have had five-star treatment from the NHS since I was diagnosed five years ago.

?They have done everything they could to keep me alive. It seems a shame to throw in the towel now. ? Mr Craddock said he was thinking about trying to pay for Sutent when his consultant told him she had been authorised to prescribe it on the NHS.

This followed a campaign by The Northern Echo in support of kidney cancer patient Kathleen Devonport, from Chilton, County Durham, who got the drug last year.

The campaign helped persuade the North-East NHS to allow doctors to prescribe Sutent, a decision which made the region one of the few areas where patients can get the drug.

On Thursday, the NorthEast NHS confirmed that new patients will continue to be offered Sutent until the final guidance from Nice.

(c) 2008 Northern Echo. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.