Derbyshire MP supports Penny Wheeler's NHS drug fight

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A terminally ill Derbyshire woman who has been fighting to get the NHS to fund a drug that could potentially extend her life has received the support of her MP.

Penny Wheeler, who has an incurable auto-immune disease called scleroderma and pulmonary fibrosis, should get rituximab on the health service, Conservative MP for Mid Derbyshire, Pauline Latham, said.

Ms Latham said the drug had worked on patients with similar conditions in other parts of the country.

Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust said Mrs Wheeler's condition was not rare enough for it to fund the medication.

Mrs Wheeler, from Belper, said she was "frustrated" with the decision not to pay for the treatment, which she said would cost about £26,000 a year.

In the meantime, her family and friends have raised £30,000 to privately pay for the drug.

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