Kidney cancer drug review24th December 2008
Concerns over inconsistencies in prescribing have prompted a review of funding decisions over a drug for kidney patients in Wales.
A study by the medical director of NHS Wales found some areas approved all applications for the drug Sutent while others nearly always declined them.
The inconsistency has prompted Health Minister Edwina Hart to order a clinical audit of each case to ensure consistent criteria were applied.
Regional variations have already been highlighted in the 73 requests for the drug, with 48 patients being refused it.
Every patient recommended for the drug in Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend received it but in Cardiff only one patient out of 13 was given the drug while none of the 14 patients recommended Sutent in Swansea received it.
The position of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group is that Sutent should not be issued on the NHS due to a lack of evidence on its clinical and cost effectiveness.
However, local health boards can over-ride this after considering the evidence for individual patients.
Ms Hart said: "The past few months have seen concerns raised by members of the public over the availability of a number of drugs used to treat kidney cancer.
"In determining the effectiveness of such drugs and their potential benefit to patients, we are guided by NICE."
However, she said the NICE guidance has been challenged and the advisory body will reconsider its position in the light of further evidence.
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Title: Kidney cancer drug review
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9655
Date Added: 24th Dec 2008