Court success for cancer charity

Bowel Cancer UK has urged other patient charities to be more bullish in pushing for free access to vital treatments for their beneficiaries.

The advice comes after a legal victory for the charity last week, when a high-court judge ruled that Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust must pay for Victoria Otley to receive the drug Avastin.

Otley, who is in the advanced stages of colorectal cancer, was repeatedly denied free access to the drug by the trust.

She said she clearly benefited from Avastin, which disrupts tumour growth by blocking the formation of new blood vessels, when she paid for it herself, but ran out of money after five courses of the drug.

The case went to the high court on 14 June. It ruled that the trust’s decision was arguably unlawful and recommended a judicial review.

A spokesman for Bowel Cancer UK, which has supported Otley throughout, said: “Primary care trusts will not be able to make the same arbitrary decisions as they did before.

“This sets a precedent and will empower more patients, as well as encouraging other charities to be more bullish in pushing for treatments.”

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