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Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Bowel cancer drug gets green light

2nd June 2009

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has changed its decision blocking the use of the bowel cancer drug Erbitux, following a 16% price reduction by manufacturer Merck.


Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE's clinical and public health director, said the decrease in price by the manufacturer represented better value for money.

Bowel cancer is diagnosed in over 100 people every day in the UK. It is estimated that around 2,000 people in the UK could be helped by the decision.

NICE has approved the drug, which can extend the lives of people with advanced forms of the disease, for use in patients who have had surgery and where the cancer has spread only to the liver.

Patients who respond to Erbitux have an average two-year life expectancy after they start taking the drug.

Ciaran Devane, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said he was very pleased by the news.

He said: "Although it can only be used in certain cases, it is good news for patients as this treatment could potentially extend and improve the quality of their lives.

"We hope this drug will be swiftly made available to all those who could benefit from it."

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