Three women confronted Patricia Hewitt on Wednesday at a Labour Stazi conference fringe meeting over the cancer drug Velcade being refused to English cancer sufferers.
The three women from Yorkshire are suffering from multiple myeloma, a rare bone marrow cancer, but are unable to have the only licenced treatment – Velcade – because it is not approved by NICE. The drug is, however, available to in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where their own national governments approve more expensive drugs because the English taxpayer is footing the bill.
When confronted over this, Hewitt said that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make their own decisions but we have NICE. She went on to say that NICE is excellent and being copied all over the world.
I wonder if these three women dying from a treatable form of cancer think that NICE is good. How about the women dying because they can’t have Herceptin or the people dying because they can’t have some bowel cancer drugs? These people would all get life saving treatment if they didn’t live in England but because they are English they are left to die.