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Recovering Immunotherapy costs in claims for mesothelioma

Published on 31 October 2019 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

As long ago as 1889 a female Factory Inspector named Lucy Deane described the ‘evil effects of asbestos dust’ in a workplace setting. Fast forward 110 years and asbestos was finally banned in the UK in 1999 following a wealth of research, reporting and campaigning.

Sadly, this huge delay before asbestos was finally banned in the UK has impacted upon a vast amount of people. It is estimated that since the ban in 1999, there have been 85,000 fatalities from asbestos related causes.

Whilst the history surrounding asbestos is tragic, the recent medical advances in this area are encouraging.

Medical developments for mesothelioma

All cancers react differently to treatment and sadly there is no one size fits all solution for its treatment.

Experimental treatment trials have assisted in providing medical professionals with more knowledge on how best to treat mesothelioma.

Immunotherapy drugs have seen some positive impact and whilst there is no cure for mesothelioma, some treatments have extended an individual’s life expectancy beyond what was typically given following a diagnosis.

Immunotherapy drugs are not currently available on the NHS and are still considered to be experimental treatments. The first line treatment through the NHS is chemotherapy.

There are a number of different immunotherapy drugs, however one of the more well-known is Pembrolizumab (Keytruda). It is only available for individuals who are medically eligible and is a second line treatment after the first line chemotherapy through the NHS has been exhausted. It works by blocking the surface proteins found on cancer cells which allows the body to recognise the cancer cell as a threat and therefore uses the body’s own natural defences to kill the cancer cell.

The cost of immunotherapy is typically in excess of £100,000.00 a year, which immediately creates a barrier to its availability, even if the individual is medically eligible to receive it,

Including the cost of immunotherapy within a claim

With a legal claim for mesothelioma, the cost of immunotherapy can be added into the claim on top of the compensation for an individual’s pain and suffering along with any other claim for financial loss arising from the diagnosis.

We can request an interim payment (up-front part payment of compensation) from the Defendant to cover the cost of immunotherapy to ensure that the individual is able to accept that treatment, if they are medically eligible and choose to do so.

If the claim settles whilst an individual is continuing with immunotherapy, we can set up a relevant Order through the Court which will ensure that the Defendant continues to cover the ongoing cost of immunotherapy into the future.

At Poole Alcock Solicitors our Client’s needs are paramount and we will work together with you to help you access treatment. Use our contact form to get in touch.

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