Terminally-ill Welwyn Garden City man refused cancer drug

PUBLISHED: 17:24 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:27 26 October 2009

Ken Cole

Ken Cole

A 63-YEAR-OLD man dying of a rare cancer has been refused a life-extending drug because of a technical loophole Ken Cole, who has myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, is locked in a timebomb battle with the East and North Hertfordshire PCT, which has re

A 63-YEAR-OLD man dying of a rare cancer has been refused a life-extending drug because of a technical loophole

Ken Cole, who has myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, is locked in a timebomb battle with the East and North Hertfordshire PCT, which has refused to give him Velcade.

The former postman has been refused the drug because guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) rule it can only be used at first relapse.

During his first treatment he was given an alternative treatment, thalidomide, as Velcade would have resulted in his already extremely low platelet count dropping.

Now the thalidomide has stopped working and Mr Cole, who is now in a much better position, needs the Velcade drug.

The dad-of-two from Great Ley, WGC, told the WHT he needs the drug within the next two weeks before his condition worsens.

"I am a realist, I appreciate what I have is terminal, but who has the right to deny me a drug which could prolong my life by a few years?" he said.

"I can't see the point of spending millions on drug research if they're not going to give them to anyone."

Mr Cole added he and his family had been through half a decade of "hell".

His wife Maria died in 2003 after complications with diabetes and daughter Selina was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

MP Grant Shapps called on the PCT to think again, calling its decision "a complete disgrace".

He said: "The PCT is deliberately attempting to hide behind a technicality

"Simply on the basis of unfortunate timing the jobsworth PCT is trying to deny him the NICE-approved treatment."

A PCT spokeswoman said: "Our clinical panel is now considering the evidence in this case along with Mr Cole's individual circumstances."

* Moments before the WHT went to press this afternoon, we learnt that the PCT had refused Mr Cole's appeal.

The family plans to fight the decision.

More on this development later.

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