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Woman with cystic fibrosis is denied vital new drug because she live in Scotland… while her brother gets it as he's based in England Emma Mitchell lives in Scotland and will not get breakthrough cystic fibrosis drugHer brother Nick lives in London and will because it has been approved in EnglandNow she must wait until January 14 to find out if she can get the life-saving treatment
10:13 GMT, 31 December 2012
A brother and sister with the same chronic lung condition are facing a cross-Border lottery which will see one of them denied a life-saving drug.
Emma Mitchell – who lives in Scotland – and her London-based brother Nick Talbot both have cystic fibrosis.
A breakthrough drug called Kalydeco has been approved for hundreds of patients in England and Wales.
From today, Nick, left, will be able to take the medicine which has been hailed the biggest breakthrough in CF treatments in years, but Emma, right, has to wait
Mrs Mitchell, a maths teacher, and her brother both suffer from the hereditary illness, which leads to lung infections and early death
From today, Nick, 36, will be able to take the medicine hailed as the biggest breakthrough in cystic fibrosis in years.
But Scotland’s drug rationing body, the Scottish Medicines Consortium, has yet to approve it, leaving Mrs Mitchell, 35, without access to the ‘wonder drug’.
The drug costs 182,000 a year for each patient. It is estimated around 80 Scottish patients would benefit from its use.
Mrs Mitchell, a maths teacher, and her brother both suffer from the hereditary illness, which leads to lung infections and early death.
Cystic fibrosis is an hereditary condition that damages the lungs and affects around 9,000 people throughout the UK
It affects around 9,000 people UK-wide, and costs the NHS millions in hospital care. The new drug has brought hope for the one in 20 who suffer from a particular strain known as the Celtic form.
But Mrs Mitchell must wait until January 14 to find out if the country’s drugs chiefs will allow her access to the medicine set to transform life for her brother.
Mrs Mitchell has refused to let illness slow her down.
She said: ‘I have worked hard to become a maths teacher and endured countless chest infections.
'I have even gone into work with intravenous drips hidden under my clothes so that pupils got every hour of teaching they needed.
She added: ‘All I ask is that I get an equal opportunity to live and not have my life shortened by being denied access to the drug our Nick is getting.’
Mr Talbot, director of global development for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, hopes the medication can help him fulfil lifelong ambitions.
He is a gifted mountaineer who has scaled several peaks, despite his condition, which leaves him struggling with thin air at altitude.
The drug could help him reach his dream of climbing Mount Everest.
He said: ‘It is heartbreaking that Emma is still waiting to know if she will get it.'