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NHS Says Government Advice Behind Refusal of Cancer Drug

NHS chiefs have informed a court that they took the advice of the government in refusing to provide the breast cancer drug Herceptin to a mother of three children. Swindon NHS chiefs said that the denial of the drug to Ann Marie Rogers was issued after taking advice from their superiors.//

Herceptin is not licensed for early stage breast cancer, but women in the UK are suing the NHS for its failure to provide the drug, which is known to improve their prognosis. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt's lawyers told the court that Swindon trust's policy of only providing the drug in exceptional cases was not "not incompatible" with Ms Rogers' situation. However, the Health Secretary has asked the NHS to remove hurdles in the way and look at situations where Herceptin could be provided.

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