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Mum with lung cancer taken off life-saving drug

Shirley McGovan and family from blackburn

Published by Alice Sofield at 6:28am 7th November 2018

Thousands of cancer patients could miss out on life-saving treatment because they're only allowed it for a limited amount of time.

The period for receiving Pembrolizumab is restricted to two years for some because it's costly. 

With that being said, some patients suffering from certain types of cancers are in fact allowed on it with no restriction to how long, unless the drug stops working for them.

55-year-old Shirely McGovan is a mum of two and wife from Blackburn.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2013 - and given around 12 months left to live:



After traditional chemo-therapy and radiation treatment, as well as surgery didn't work, Shirley was given Pembrolizumab in January 2017.

This is largely down to how well Pembrolizumab has worked for her. However, with the two-year restriction in place for Shirley, she'll be taken off it in January 2019. 

The Blackburn mum has told 2BR she isn't looking forward to it because the drug has kept her stable for two years and helped her tumours:



An online petition has been launched in the hope that the time-limit for Pembrolizumab can be lifted for all the patients it works for.

If you would like to sign it or learn more, click here.

A spokesperson for NICE - National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - said: 

"The primary factor why patients are taken off Pembrolizumab after two years is because the drugs manufactures Merck Sharp & Dohme proposed it. This is because it reflected the company's key clinical trial and no evidence was available to prove a long term benefit to patients.

"NICE will consider whether there is new evidence available that suggests our guidance needs to be updated next year."

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