Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cutting costs...

Kidney cancer patients denied life-saving drugs by NHS rationing body NICE
By Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 12:55 AM on 29th April 2009

Thousands of kidney cancer patients are likely to lose out on life-prolonging drugs.
The NHS rationing body, NICE, has confirmed a ban on three out of four new treatments.
It has reversed its position on just one, Sutent, which will now be allowed for patients with advanced cancer.

NICE has the last say on which drugs are administered by the NHS
But campaigners who fought NICE's original blanket ban said this was not enough. They said some patients with heart problems cannot tolerate Sutent.
Kate Spall, head of the Pamela Northcott Fund campaign group, said the ruling meant that fewer than half of newly diagnosed patients would be eligible for therapy.
She added: 'Families will be denied time together and doctors will be unable to give patients the best treatment.'
Campaigners are angry that NICE appears to have ignored new official guidelines widening access to life-prolonging drugs.
Sutent, also known as sunitinib, can double the life expectancy of patients, to 28 months, compared with standard interferon treatment. It costs around £24,000 a year.
The rejected drugs - bevacizumab (Avastin), sorafenib (Nexavar) and temsirolimus (Torisel) - have similar costs and are used in other countries.

Nicole Farmer, of Bayer Schering Pharma Oncology, which makes Nexavar, said: 'This shows why the UK sits 16 out of 18 EU countries with regard to cancer outcomes'.
Dr Thomas Powles, Clinical Senior Lecturer, at Barts and The London NHS Trust, said the 'one size fits all' policy would disadvantage many of the 7,000 patients diagnosed each year with kidney cancer.
He said: 'This one dimensional approach will leave some patients without potentially beneficial treatments, indeed some patients will not be eligible for any effective treatments whatsoever.'
Stella Pendleton, executive director of the Rarer Cancers Forum, said: 'This decision contradicts the spirit of the recommendations made by Professor Mike Richards on improving access to medicines for NHS patients, and highlights flaws in the current system for appraising drugs.
'We call on Nice to reverse this decision.'

1 comment:

David Foster said...

Unbelievable that it's really called NICE...because NICE was the name of the evil pseudo-scientific totalitarian organization in C S Lewis' novel "That Hideous Strength."