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Monday 21st May 2018

Nexavar liver drug too expensive

19th November 2009

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected a drug that can prolong the lives of patients with advanced liver cancer for use in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The £3,000 a month cost of Nexavar was too high, it said.

Research has shown that Nexavar - also known as sorafenib – and manufactured by Bayer could extend a patient’s life by up to six months.

NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon said: "The price being asked by Bayer is simply too high to justify using NHS money which could be spent on better value cancer treatments."

The drug has already been rejected by the Scottish Medicines Consortium which ruled that "the manufacturer's justification of the treatment's cost in relation to its benefit was not sufficient to gain acceptance".

Every year in the UK there are more than 3,000 new cases of liver cancer and of those, only a fifth are alive a year after diagnosis and 5% after five years.

Charities have reacted angrily to the decision.

Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Peter Johnson said the decision was "enormously frustrating" because there was no doubt about the drug's effectiveness.

With Nexavar routinely offered to cancer patients elsewhere in the world Mike Hobday, head of campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It is a scandal that the only licensed drug proven to significantly prolong the lives of people with this devastating disease has been rejected, leaving them with no treatment options.”

The British Liver Trust said the decision was a huge blow for patients.


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