A CANCER suffering pensioner who feels he is victim of a “postcode lottery” could face a £25,000-a-year bill for his drugs treatment.
Retired miner Jimmy Chesters, 76, from Bickerton Drive, Summerhill, has spoken out after discovering the hefty price tag for the drugs which he thinks could prolong his life.
Mr Chesters, who is being treated in by medics in Birmingham, says he’s a victim of a ‘postcode lottery’.
The cancer drug he uses is only approved for funding for patients living in England, not Wales.
He said he was shocked when a doctor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham told him his drugs could cost £25,000 every year.
“No working class person could possibly afford that,” said Mr Chesters.
“It was certainly a shock to find out it would cost that much.
“It’s an awful lot of money, impossible to afford.”
Mr Chesters said the potential cost for the Sorafenib drug, also known as Nexavar, could apply each year for the remainder of his life.
Since April 2013 the national Cancer Drugs Fund has approved the use of Sorafenib. But funding only applies to patients living in England.
Mr Chesters previously said he feels “in limbo”.
“If I was living in England, I’d be able to get this treatment,” he said.
“I need this sorting.”
Originally diagnosed with cancerous tumours on the liver several years ago, Mr Chesters now needs treatment as cancer has returned to the muscle of his bowel.
He has been given some help towards covering the cost of the drugs thanks to fundraising taking place in the Gwersyllt community.
A fun day was held at the Working Men’s Club, while neighbour Lyn Davies is planning to sell her collection of hundreds of keyrings to support him.
“It has been brilliant that people have done this for me,” added Mr Chesters.
“We had a wonderful day at the fun day.
“I never realised I was so popular. Everyone has been doing so much for me. I’m very grateful.”
Although living in Wales, Mr Chesters is seen by medics in Birmingham. A spokesman for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said they did not wish to add to a statement issued last month.
It read: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.
“The Trust does adhere to the national guidelines regarding prescribing.
“Since April 2013, the national Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) has approved the use of Sorafenib (Nexavar).
“However, the CDF only applies to those patients living in England and not Wales.”
Patients can apply to an all-Wales panel which will consider if there are grounds for funding a particular medicine or treatment based on clinical exceptionality.
Sorafenib is on the cancer drugs fund in England but Wales does not have a similar fund.