Asbestos victims and their families – including many GMB members – will lobby Parliament today for funding of the drug Alimta for the treatment of mesothelioma.

Between 2-4pm today, there will be a lobby of Parliament calling for PCT funding of the chemotherapy agent Alimta (Pemetrexed Disodium) for the treatment of mesothelioma, a malignant tumor of the pleura caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos.

In June this year, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decided not to approve the use of Alimta on grounds of cost effectiveness and after an appeal hearing on 27 October, NICE will give a final decision.

Mesothelioma sufferers and their families from across the country are expected to attend the House of Commons meeting to meet with their constituency MPs about the issue and encourage them to support a campaign to ensure cancer drug Alimta is continued to be available on the NHS. Already over 50 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion sponsored by North East MP Fraser Kemp which calls for extended access to the life-extending drug.

The event comes just days before Alimta manufacturer Eli Lilley prepares for an appeal hearing against NICE’s decision on the drug.

Ian McFall, Head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors who have headed up the fight to free access to Alimta, said: “This is a chance for every MP in the UK to put their weight behind this campaign. During this lobby they will be able to see first hand how mesothelioma has changed the lives of many hard working people and they will learn how Alimta can help some of these people to have a better quality of life.”

John McClean, GMB National Health and Safety Officer, comments: “GMB fully supports this lobby. Mesothelioma sufferers have paid the price with their health and their lives because of the negligence of employers. If the only licensed treatment for mesothelioma is withdrawn, innocent victims will be sent away without hope.”