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UK breast cancer sufferer appeals in Herceptin case

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Mar 27 (Reuters) A British woman with early-stage breast cancer goes to the Court of Appeal in London today in legal bid to force her health authority to pay for the potentially life-saving drug Herceptin.

Anne Marie Rogers, 54, is appealing against a High Court ruling last month that Swindon Primary Care Trust in Wiltshire need not pay for the costly medication, made by Switzerland's Roche.

At an earlier hearing, the judge was told that Rogers felt as though she had been given ''a death sentence'' as a result of having been initially refused the drug, which costs about 20,000 pounds a year.

Herceptin is one of a new generation of targeted therapies which attack only cancer cells and are tolerated much better than traditional chemotherapy.

The drug is only licensed for use in women with advanced breast cancer, although doctors can use their discretion to prescribe it in other cases.

Research has shown Herceptin can help patients in the early stages of breast cancer but many health authorities say they will only fund treatment in exceptional cases.

Rogers, a former restaurant manager, has been receiving the drug since last year when another High Court judge held she had an ''arguable case''.

REUTERS SHB DS1247

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