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Sciensus chemotherapy: Prostate cancer patient dies after reportedly receiving three times intended dose

Leigh Day is investigating incidents of deaths and injuries arising after prostate cancer patients were given an unlicensed version of Cabazitaxel containing three times the prescribed dose of the drug.

Posted on 27 March 2024

An investigation by the Guardian found that one patient died soon after the incident, and three others were admitted to hospital as a result.

Leigh Day has been instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of a family whose loved one died after being treated for their prostate cancer with the unlicensed version of Cabazitaxel.

Partner Sarah Moore is informed that at least two other patients are believed to have died after receiving the treatment.

The incident is believed to have been caused by an error at the manufacturing unit run by UK-based medicines and healthcare provider Sciensus.

Sciensus was authorised by the Medicines and Health regulator, the MHRA, to manufacture “unlicensed” versions of the drug for patients with individual requirements, although these unlicensed versions are still required to comply with MHRA standards for the quality of products.

An initial internal investigation by Sciensus confirmed that an inputting error into an IT system involved in manufacturing this version of Cabazitaxel had led to the product being dispensed at three times the prescribed dosage prior to being administered to four patients. 

Sciensus, formerly known as Healthcare at Home, is a service dispensing medicines to patients on behalf of the NHS. A series of investigations by the Guardian into “the single largest provider of homecare medicines services to the NHS”, with contracts worth millions of pounds each year by the NHS to provide medicines and medical services to patients at home, found widespread complaints that deliveries did not arrive, were delayed, or were incorrect. Additionally, some affected patients found that complaints made through the company’s formal complaints process did not receive a response.

An investigation by the MHRA into the incorrect doses of Cabazitaxel produced by Sciensus led to the regulator partially suspending the company’s manufacturing licence in July 2023 after finding “significant deficiencies” at its manufacturing facilities, for an initial period of nine months which has since been extended to at least July 2024.

An inquiry by the House of Lords public services committee additionally brought the problems facing homecare medicines services into sharp relief, stating that “No one – not the Government, not NHS England, not patient groups, not regulators, knows how often, nor how seriously patients suffer harm from service failures in homecare” and calling for a full-scale independent investigation.

The Leigh Day Team is available to speak with anyone who has suffered a loss or bereavement after a defective or unsuitable chemotherapy treatment is believed to have been provided by Sciensus. If you think this may apply to you and would like to speak to one of our expert Product Liability lawyers regarding a potential claim, please fill in our initial form which can be found at: Contact Leigh Day Solicitors | Leigh Day

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Sarah Moore
International Product safety

Sarah Moore

Leading international and product safety lawyer

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