In October I wrote this letter to David Cameron, our Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister,

The photo below is of me with my new friend, his name is Khalid Younis. We both have a rare form of leukaemia called Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). Treatment for CML was revolutionised in 2001 when Time magazine hailed a drug called imatinib a magic bullet against cancer. Now, 14 years later, my friend cannot access a new, potentially life-saving drug called ponatinib because it hasn’t been appraised by NICE.

Khalid Younis and Kris Griffin

Khalid Younis and Kris Griffin

I don’t understand why the cancer drug fund process was closed alongside the appraisal process, we find ourselves falling through an administrative gap. Khalid’s situation has attracted nearly 8,000 signatures on a petition and the story has been featured in the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and the local Birmingham newspapers. We’ve contacted Khalid’s MP, Roger Godsiff and my MP, Mark Garnier. Mark knows my work and has always been really supportive.

Whilst I realise you have many responsibilities and must receive many letters like this; if you have time to meet or discuss this issue and help us I would be extremely grateful.

Ponatinib offers the last real hope Khalid has, not being able to access it in England is devastating.

Yours sincerely,

Kris Griffin (Mr)

Last week I received this reply:

PM Khalid

Of course I’m disappointed, I’m not sure if I ever thought he’d agree to a meeting and fix the problem. My issue with this letter is that the Department of Health is part of the problem. They’ve allowed this issue to manifest and within the space of two days (last week) I’ve managed to extract three different dates when they expect the appraisal process to be ready. Not ready for use…oh no..ready for it to be reviewed. In the meantime, we don’t have an appraisal process and by that point we won’t have a cancer drugs fund. I don’t want to write a ‘told you so’ letter to our PM.

So, I’ll be writing to Mr Cameron again, perhaps I’ll also include the 8,000 signatures on this petition and ask him what he thinks the Department of Health will do; because from where I’m sitting they are making the situation worse.

Kris Griffin – Access CML Drugs