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Thursday 27th October 2016

Lung cancer drug denied

9th March 2007

Thousands of lung cancer sufferers have been left disappointed as it was announced that Tarceva will not be made available on the NHS in England and Wales.

According to the government's health watchdog, lung cancer drug, Tarceva, offers limited use and therefore would not be cost effective as a NHS treatment.  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) ruling will leave sufferers of non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease, having to pay over £1,500 per month privately for the drug.

Cancer Research UK has protested against the decision, saying trials have shown that non-small cell lung cancer patients benefit from the drug.  "Tarceva is one of the few significant advances against the condition to emerge over the last decade," said the charity’s medical director Professor John Toy. Tarceva manufacturer Roche has also expressed concern over NICE’s decision which it described as "perverse and flawed".  The drug company is planning an appeal. 

Clinical trials of Tarceva showed the drug was successful in reducing the symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer and also increased one year survival rates by over 40%. Tarceva was licensed in Britain in 2005.  NICE has said it will review its decision in 2008.


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