Local MP calls for Parliamentary debate to reinstate vital cancer drug
March 12, 2015
Julian Sturdy has raised the case of Richard Bassett, who suffers from a rare form of cancer, with William Hague in the House of Commons.
The York Outer MP asked “While I accept the success of the cancer drugs fund, recent changes have resulted in the drug Regorafenib, which is effective against gastro-intestinal tumours, no longer being funded. One of my constituents, whose partner suffers from a rare form of cancer, has collected more than 45,000 signatures in support of the drug’s reinstatement. It is a last resort that offers treatment when others have failed, and it gives patients precious extra time until a lasting cure can be found. Given that we are running out of time in this Parliament, can the Leader of the House advise me on how we can get this matter debated?”
Responding to Mr Sturdy’s question, the Leader of the House, William Hague, said “There is little scope for additional debates, as I have been saying in relation to other issues, but I can tell my hon. Friend that NHS England, which manages the cancer drugs fund, has assured the Department of Health that no patient whose treatment is currently being funded through the cancer drugs fund will have their funding withdrawn as long as it is clinically appropriate that they continue to receive that treatment, and that in addition no drug will be removed from the fund when it is the only therapy available for the condition in question. Furthermore, clinicians can still apply for individual patients to receive a particular drug on an exceptional basis. I would recommend that my hon. Friend pursues the matter directly with Ministers at the Department of Health in order to get further details.”
Following the debate, Mr Sturdy said “I have requested a meeting with both the Health Minister and NHS England to see if there is any way we can secure the treatment that Richard Bassett needs. In the meantime I would urge York residents to sign Victoria Janes’ petition, which I will take with me to demonstrate the strength of feeling on this important issue”.