Cancer sufferers fighting for wider access to life-extending drugs claim the Government's decision to allow top-up payments will make little difference to most people.
Ministers last week announced proposals to allow NHS patients to pay for drugs not available on the health service, while receiving the rest of their treatment free.
Until now, anyone buying the pills themselves would also have to pay for the rest of their care privately.
Health chiefs also intend to lower the threshold used by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) when deciding which drugs should be funded by the NHS - paving the way for many more costly drugs to be approved.
However, Margaret Whitby, whose appeal for the so-called "wonder drug" Tarceva was rejected by NHS Hounslow, questioned how many people would benefit from the move.
The 74-year-old gran-of-five, who lives in Curtis Road, Whitton, said she cannot afford the drug - which doctors claim is her only hope of beating lung cancer - and wonders how many other people would be able to.
"They make it sound so wonderful but you have to have the money to start with and we can ill-afford it," she said.
"We may have to consider it as an option, although we're waiting for NICE's ruling later this month before making a decision.
"If it came to re-mortgaging our house we would have to do so but I don't think that's a choice people should have to make."
A three-month course of treatment with the new generation of cancer drugs typically costs about £6,000 Ð well beyond the budget of most ordinary
Jenny Robinson, of Eastern Way, Feltham, was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer earlier this year, only to be told last month she actually had an incredibly rare but treatable form of the disease.
However, the 42-year-old mum-of-two is still campaigning against the "postcode lottery" of health care, having previously been denied the cancer treatment Sutent.
She had mixed reactions to the GovernmentÕs ruling on top-up payments.
"It's good news for those who can afford it, although I don't think it's fair," she said.
"I would have tried raising the funds but by the time I'd reached my target it might have been too late."