A breast cancer sufferer who has been refused the drug Herceptin by her local health authority is to take her case to the High Court.
Elaine Barber, a single mother-of-four, was told she would not be given the drug by North Stoke Primary Care Trust.
Ms Barber's doctor recommended that she was treated with Herceptin, but she received a letter yesterday refusing treatment on grounds of resources.
The trust also said there was a lack of current evidence supporting the long-term efficacy of the drug.
Ms Barber, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, contracted the disease in August 2004 and is currently in remission.
She said: "I am shattered by this news - I cannot believe that my life is being measured in pounds. I intend to fight this decision and will take this battle to the High Court, not only for myself but also for the many other women who will die if this essential drug is not made available to women who need it."
It is thought to be the first case of its type to be taken to the High Court, challenging the trust's refusal to provide the drug.
Mr Barber's solicitor, Yogi Amin, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, has applied to the High Court for an urgent hearing.
He said: " This is devastating news. The case is with the High Court and we fully intend to ask the court to consider the case within the week. We will argue under the Human Rights Act for Elaine to receive this life-saving treatment.
"This is because Elaine's most basic right is the right to life. This decision is wrong in our view and will set a dangerous precedent which will cost lives."
Last month, a study revealed that the cancer drug reduced the risk of cancer returning by nearly 50 per cent among women with early stage Her2 breast cancer.
The Government has said all women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer would be tested to see if they are suitable for treatment with Herceptin following growing pressure from the public and patients.
Adam Whittaker, for the North Stoke Primary Care Trust, said: "North Stoke PCT is aware of the very difficult position that patients with early Her2 positive breast cancer currently face."
He said the trust had carefully reviewed the clinical effectiveness of Herceptin and recognised that it has the potential to be a "significant" advance in treatment.
"At this stage, however, the evidence of this as a costeffective use of the finite health resources available for North Stoke patients is not confirmed," he said.
"It would therefore be premature to agree to introduce it as a routine treatment.
"To do so could seriously affect the availability of care to other patients, including those with other cancers."
But he insisted the trust supported the use of Herceptin for women with advanced breast cancer and would continue to monitor the situation.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "I have urgently asked the PCT to show the Department the evidence they have used as the basis of their decision not to fund Herceptin, including the report they refer to by the Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility.
"I am very concerned by North Stoke PCT's decision. We have already arranged an urgent meeting with the PCT and Strategic Health Authority later this week to discuss their approach to funding Herceptin."