Unite the Union

Unite the Union

January 24, 2008 10:31 ET

Unite Calls for an End to Bureaucracy as Nice Finally Approves Asbestos Cancer Drug

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 24, 2008) -

Attention: News, Industrial and Health Correspondents

Alimta, a treatment for the asbestos related disease mesothelioma, was finally approved by NICE yesterday.

This follows a long fight by Unite and other support groups to ensure sufferers receive this treatment on the NHS.

The delay caused by a catalogue of appeals, resulted in a very long appraisal process and led to extreme distress for mesothelioma patients who should have benefited from treatment with Alimta a long time ago. The situation was complicated by patients in Scotland, the North West and North East receiving this drug treatment whilst other sufferers in other parts of the UK where refused treatment.

Although Alimta is not a cure for mesothelioma it can extend life and alleviate symptoms for many patients.

Unite health and safety officer Rob Miguel said

"The average life expectancy following diagnosis for sufferers of this painful and distressing disease is a year. It took three years to get approval for this drug and for many patients this decision has come too late.

Deaths from mesothelioma are increasing, from 153 deaths in 1968 to 2500 in 2007. The rise will continue and probably peak between 2011 and 2015."

Unite believes that in future cases as long as a drug is safe, it should be available for treatment while the review on whether the drug should be prescribed is in process.

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  • Unite the Union
    Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315