Cancer patient fears sufferers will be ‘cut off in their prime’ as lifeline drug is axed to save money
PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 March 2015
A Suffolk man is calling for people to sign a petition to reinstate a life-extending cancer drug.
Tim Mason, 57, from Ipswich, has suffered from advanced Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST) for 10 years, and uses the drug regorafenib to manage his condition.
The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) has withdrawn the product from its approved list, meaning although Mr Mason will continue to receive the drug, those who are diagnosed with the disease in the future will not be able to access it.
Regorafenib is a ‘third line’ drug, after first and second line drugs imatinib and sunitinib.
In January the CDF said the withdrawal, along with other drugs was part of creating projected savings of about £80million through a combination of negotiated price reductions and improved clinical effectiveness.
Mr Mason is a trustee of GIST Support UK, which is attempting to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to the government by March 30.
Mr Mason said the body and the cancer “learns to outsmart” the first and second line drugs, and without regorafenib, he would “really be struggling by now”.
He added: “People who can’t get the drug but are needing it are in dire trouble.”
The cancer, although rare, regularly affects younger people.
Withdrawal of the drug would “potentially cut people off in the prime of life,” said Mr Mason.
“It’s such a successful drug, it made my quality of life much better.
“The side effects are much less than the second line drug and as far as we know, there are no drugs in the pipeline which could do what regorafenib does.”
To sign the petition visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/73911