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Judge Reserves Judgment In Cancer Drug Case

A High Court judge has revealed that he will not give an immediate judgment with regard to Ann Marie Rogers, a breast cancer patient, concerning her case against the NHS refusing her the Herceptin drug treatment. //Justice Bean has revealed that the case is too important as it will have its impact on other breast cancer patients also, for an immediate judgment. There will be no case of undue delay either, according to him. The Herceptin drug reduces the possibility of the HER-2 form of cancer by 50%.

The Swindon Primary Care Trust (PCT) is reported to have refused the drug to Marie Rogers, and she has been compelled to borrow £5,000 to finance her treatment. She is reported to have come to a stage wherein she can no longer afford the treatment. The PCT is funding the treatment with the drug in early stage cancers only in exceptional cases, which is sought to be declared irrational, arbitrary, and unlawful by Ian Wise, who is representing Ms Rogers.

The annual cost of treating a patient with the Herceptin drug is £21,800. Ms Rogers stands a 57% chance of her ailment recurring after a period of 10 years, according to Ian Wise, and refusing to finance her treatment may result in fatal consequences, thus depriving her of her right to life.

The advocate for the PCT, Philip Havers contends that the drug is yet to be licensed for early stage breast cancer, nor has its safety and efficacy been certified by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The policy of the PCT is also in conformity with the guidance of the Health Secretary, according to him. The judge is seeking to decide if the exceptional circumstances criteria can be made use of in some early stage cancers. A judgment with regard to case is expected to be delivered in the second week of February 2006.

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