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"Wonder drug" bid by Somerset weekly

Signatures are flooding in to a petition launched by Somerset weekly, the Taunton Times, in a bid to win a fair deal for leukaemia patients.

The paper was prompted to act after learning that cancer sufferers in England and Wales could be denied the “wonder drug” Glivec – hailed as a breakthrough in the treatment of leukaemia.

The Taunton Times has been following the progress of local leukaemia patient Kim Allistone, who was prescribed Glivec and saw a dramatic improvement in her condition.

But the Government’s drug-rationing body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, has recently indicated the drug would only be given to patients who have reached an advanced stage of the disease.

Glivec is likely to cost around £18,000 per patient each year and is available to patients in Scotland – and the rest of the world.

The Taunton Times has now enlisted the support of Taunton MP Adrian Flook who has agreed to present the petition to the House of Commons and Health Secretary Alan Milburn.

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