NICE rejects cancer drug for NHS

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected plans for everolimus to be made available on the NHS. NICE ruled that th...

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected plans for everolimus to be made available on the NHS.

NICE ruled that the drug, which was proven to help prolong the life of kidney cancer patients, was too expensive.

Two other drugs, sunitinib and pazopanib, have been approved for use by the NHS. However, everolimus, which is also known as Afinitor and Novartis, has shown to increase overall survival rates where the other two had failed.

In justifying the decision not to recommend the drug for NHS use, NICE said it “does not provide enough benefit to patients to justify its high cost.”

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They did however accept that despite the research into the effect of the drug on survival times being inconclusive, the “overall survival gain would be likely to be more than three months”.

The charity Kidney Cancer UK is advising doctors and patients seeking the drug to ask for help from the government’s cancer drug fund, which is used for medication which has not available on the NHS.

Talking about the decision not to make everolimus available on the NHS, Dr Pat Hanlon, from Kidney Cancer UK, said his reaction was “one of deep disappointment.”

He added: “We know the NHS cannot afford all drugs, but they are effectively robbing people of a few months of life.”

The drug, which would have cost more than £200,000 for a full course of treatment, is used for second-line treatment of renal cell carcinoma, an advanced type of kidney cancer.

Approximately 4,000 people are diagnosed with that particular advanced type of cancer every year.

The chief executive of NICE, Sir Andrew Dillon, said: “We regret not to be able to recommend this drug, but we have to ensure that the money available to the NHS, for treating cancer and other conditions is used to best effect, particularly when the NHS, like the rest of the public sector, is under considerable financial pressure.”
 

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