Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Maeve McLaughlin has met with Prof Mark Lawlor, Queens Cancer Centre and Roisin Foster CEO of Cancer Focus to discuss the availability of new cancer drugs to people in the North.
“At present there are now 39 cancer drugs available in England Scotland and Wales that are not available in the North of Ireland and many people suffering from cancer would have their lifespan extended if they had access to these drugs.
“While some of these drugs have not yet been NICE approved they have been subject to clinical trials and are currently being prescribed to cancer suffers in Britain.
“Accessibility to cancer drugs is an equality issue and I met with Prof Mark Lawlor and Roisin Foster to look at ways of making these drugs available to sufferers in the North.
“One of the issues arising is the cost of these drugs yet £2.83m was returned to the North in 2013/14 and with a revised Pharmaceutical Price Regulation scheme now in place that figure could be even higher this year.
“We cannot continue to have a cancer drugs lottery and patients here need access to these drugs in order to combat their illness or prolong their lives.
“It is ironic that many of these drugs or other leading cancer treatments have been developed at Queens yet remain unavailable to people here.
“I am requesting a meeting with OFMDFM to discuss solutions to this issue which will provide better outcomes for patients and allow the North to be a leader in terms of health innovation and cancer research.”