In April 2012, completely out of the blue, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of acute myeloid leukaemia and started intensive chemotherapy the very next day. I was told that, without treatment, I had only a few months to live.
I was 41 and my only daughter was 9 months old.
Almost 3 years on, after several months in hospital, 3 rounds of chemotherapy, total body irradiation, and a stem cell transplant from one of my sisters, I am currently in remission. However, my leukaemia is Philadelphia Chromosome Positive, and without daily medication to inhibit the activity of this chromosome, the leukaemia could return.
This medication, Dasatinib, is one of those being de-listed in March this year. I am immensely grateful that this will not affect me, but why should someone else, diagnosed after April this year, not have the chance at life that I have had? Without access to this drug, my now 3 year old daughter wouldn't have any memory of me and of my love for her.
This funding decision is heartbreaking for patients and their families, already shattered by a cancer diagnosis, and I cannot understand how it can possibly be justified. Civilisation in Britain is now moving backwards. The science is there, but apparently, the money isn't. So much for progress - or ethics.
One of the things that angers me most is that one of the delisted drugs is standard treatment in 55 countries. 55. I can only imagine this goes for at least some of the other drugs too. Why are they not standard here? Not enough money you say?
That’s nonsense, there is plenty of money in this country and there is no reason any patient should go without treatments that are available. I thought the strength and decency of a society was determined by the way it treats its weakest members.
I am utterly disgusted. All it would take is for David Cameron to prioritise a deal between the pharmaceutical companies and the NHS, putting the welfare of ordinary citizens before the interests of huge corporations. Please help me to stop this.