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Cancer drugs refund dilemma

PUBLISHED: 16:32 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 16 August 2010

A ROW over access to life saving drugs erupted after it was revealed that a patient was refunded money for expensive cancer medicines. Patients denied drugs on the NHS are opting to buy the drugs privately and then are demanding refunds from their Prima

A ROW over access to life saving drugs erupted after it was revealed that a patient was refunded money for expensive cancer medicines.

Patients denied drugs on the NHS are opting to buy the drugs privately and then are demanding refunds from their Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which control what medicine they have access to.

A cancer patient appealed to Bromley PCT using the 'exceptional treatment process' in the latter half of this year and was refunded the money they had forked out themselves for the costly drugs.

Keith Farmer, assistant director of corporate affairs at Bromley PCT, said: "As a result of a case going through our normal appeals process we decided to pay back the money that this patient had spent.

"This was a one-off and to my knowledge we have not done anything similar for any other patient."

Bromley PCT only use drugs which are approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), who recommend drugs based on their cost effectiveness and efficacy.

On Tuesday, a study by cancer charity Macmillan warned the appeals process could exacerbate the postcode lottery and said the whole system needed greater transparency and fairness.

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