Herceptin, the wonder drug for breast cancer victims is denied by the NHS to victims who are suffering the initial stages of cancer, but the private medical insurers have saved their day by pitching in.
Bupa, a private insurer, has already made available this drug to almost 100 women, who have been diagnosed in the early stages, and standard life has made the drug available in 30 such cases.
It is estimated that a year's requirement of Herceptin costs above £20,000, and this drug has been denied to patients by some trusts, who are wanting in funds. This drug is used normally for women in the late stage cancer, but the drug's manufacturer, Roche, has recently given in an application for license to provide the drug even in the early stages of cancer.
Herceptin can have a major side effect, heart failure, therefore Bupa, has accepted to fund the drug following recommendation by the oncologist and acceptance by the patient. Dr Paula Franklin, Bupa's deputy medical director, says: 'Many drugs have potential side effects. We haven't made this decision in the absence of evidence. We feel we have made an appropriate review. And we are not alone - parts of the NHS have funded Herceptin in early stage cases.'