Lena wins her battle for drugs

PUBLISHED: 14:42 13 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 24 May 2010

Lena Simpson

Lena Simpson

A TERMINALLY-ILL Backwell pensioner has won her battle to receive a drug which will extend her life and reduce her suffering. Former nurse, Lena Simpson, of Station Road, was diagnosed with lung cancer in May and told she had just six months to live. The

A TERMINALLY-ILL Backwell pensioner has won her battle to receive a drug which will extend her life and reduce her suffering.Former nurse, Lena Simpson, of Station Road, was diagnosed with lung cancer in May and told she had just six months to live.The disease was so advanced that the grandmother-of-two could not have chemotherapy or radiotherapy.So the 64-year-old asked North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) to pay for her to have a daily dose of Tarceva, which costs up to £70 per day, to extend her life, ease her breathing and suppress her cough.The pensioner's request was turned down twice, but after a hearing, the PCT has decided to fund the treatment.Lena said: "At the hearing, I was told that I was entitled, by law, to be notified of the panel's decision within a week, but efforts would be made to let me know sooner."When I received a call that afternoon to tell me that the PCT was going to pay for me to have Tarceva, I was amazed and elated. I'm experiencing a few side effects, such as nausea, but already my breathing is feeling easier."Fighting the battle to get the treatment has been hard, but it's been worth it. Tarceva won't cure me, but it will improve my quality of life and extend it."If, after four months, there has been a significant reduction in the size of the tumours on my lungs, the PCT will continue paying for the treatment."A spokesman for North Somerset Primary Care Trust said: "The PCT has a process for considering issues like this."Tarceva remains a treatment which is not normally funded, but our mechanisms are sensitive to considering exceptional cases relating to individual patients and funding was considered appropriate in this instance.

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