Sunday 28 December 2014

Dad's vital cancer drug cancelled after Aviva refuses to pay

Bobby Power,  who was denied a life-saving cancer drug treatment by Aviva Health, with his daughter Lucy and grandchildren Ryan (4) [in green t-shirt] and baby Liam.
Bobby Power, who was denied a life-saving cancer drug treatment by Aviva Health, with his daughter Lucy and grandchildren Ryan (4) [in green t-shirt] and baby Liam.

AVIVA health insurance has refused to pay for a life-saving cancer drug for a father of four.

Bobby Power (67) was scheduled to receive vital drug treatment for advanced melanoma in his liver on Monday. But the treatment was suddenly cancelled when the insurance company refused to fund it.

"I'm very worried. I'm in limbo now," said Mr Power.

"The consultant told me it is the only drug for me," he said.

The drug Ipilimumab is proven to give melanoma cancer patients a fighting chance against the aggressive disease.

Mr Power, who has four grandchildren, had been a member of VHI for almost 40 years. When first diagnosed with melanoma in 2010, VHI funded the removal of part of his thumb as a means of removing the cancer.

In 2012, he switched to Aviva Health after receiving assurances from Aviva that his cancer cover would be the same as the VHI.

He continued to receive CAT scans at the Mater Private hospital in Dublin to monitor any recurrence of the cancer. Then last month he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in the liver.

"Everything was set up for me to get the treatment at the Mater Private on Monday but it had to be cancelled when Aviva refused to fund it," said Mr Power, speaking at his home in Portlaw, Co Waterford.

VHI and Laya Healthcare pay for Ipilimumab for its customers but Aviva Health refuses to pay for it, according to Mr Power's distraught daughter, Lucy Danagher.

A spokesperson for Aviva Ireland pointed out "that the HSE did not take the decision to cover Ipilumimab until May 5, 2012, and VHI announced its decision to cover the drug on August 17, 2012.

"Aviva consults the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics (NCPE) as independent advisors for health technology assessments on all new drugs."

Irish Independent

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