Lifeline asthma drug facing axe
Date published: 27 November 2012
A CONCERNED mother-of-two has criticised a controversial decision to withdraw a powerful asthma drug that has transformed her life.
Trish Martin (51) was diagnosed with severe, chronic asthma when she was two and struggled to cope with her condition throughout her life.
The grandmother was thrown a lifeline 14 years ago when she took part in a trial for a drug, Xolair, that eased her symptoms at allowed her to go to university and get a full-time job.
Trish, of Houseley Avenue, Chadderton, has had a fortnightly injection of Xolair since - but the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has announced plans to withdraw Xolair from 2013 because it isn’t cost-effective.
She said: “Before Xolair I was housebound, I was disabled, I couldn’t look after my two sons and I suffered regular attacks that would leave me in hospital for weeks.
“When I started taking it, my life was completely transformed. I got a degree and I now work full-time as a welfare advice manager.
“Ian, my husband of 30 years, says he has a brand new wife and my boys, who are now grown up, can’t believe their mum is active and working.
“The thought of not being able to have Xolair truly frightens me and I don’t agree with the notion that it isn’t cost-effective. Before it I was hospitalised around three times a year and each week I was in cost the NHS £15,000.
“It costs £26,000 a year for Xolair, so this is a saving. I haven’t had to go to hospital for eight years.
“Everyone with chronic asthma should have the chance to experience Xolair as it is truly life-changing.”
NICE says the decision is ultimately about cost rather than effectiveness.
While it agrees Xolair works for some people with severe allergic asthma, it isn’t convinced the drug represents value for money. A final decision will be made next year.
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