Unite the Union

Unite the Union

July 11, 2007 10:08 ET

Victory for Mesothelioma Sufferers

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 11, 2007) - Unite the uk's biggest union has welcomed the decision made this week by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) that UK mesothelioma sufferers should have access on the NHS to the only licensed drug that pressure groups feel can prolong life and alleviate the distressing symptoms.

Alimta, (pemetrexed disodium) is not a cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma, however, clinical trials have shown it to be effective in prolonging life and alleviating distressing symptoms.

The NICE Appraisal Committee only a few months ago gave an interim ruling against the continued use of Alimta. Despite the evidence of clear benefits to mesothelioma suffers, they were not convinced of the cost effectiveness of the drug, and at the time could not recommend it as a treatment option for malignant pleural mesothelioma. This recent decision represents a dramatic turnaround from the position taken just a short while ago by NICE, but what must have been an agonisingly long time for mesothelioma suffers.

Mesothelioma is contracted almost exclusively as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres. Prior to today's announcement, people in many parts of the country were deprived of this valuable treatment.

Unite believes pressure from unions and support groups, as well as sympathetic MP's tipped the balance in achieving this very sensible result.

Unite Health and Safety Officer Rob Miguel says:

"Unite welcomes this decision, and yes we are pleased our support has aided this just cause. But what we are really absolutely delighted about, is that common sense has prevailed with mesothelioma suffers receiving, at least some relief from this most painful of diseases.

Primary care trusts should ensure the treatment becomes available as soon as possible, our people have been deprived of this treatment for long enough".

Contact Information

  • Rob Miguel
    07900 804 911