NICE confirms no funding for Avastin12th November 2010
The government’s drug regulatory body has confirmed there will not be NHS funding in England and Wales for the anti-cancer drug Avastin.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) say that the drug, which costs £21,000 per patient and is used in advanced cases of bowel cancer, is too expensive.
Figures show that about 6,500 people a year are eligible for the drug, which can give an extra six weeks of life in cases of advanced bowel cancer.
The final draft guidance on Avastin from NICE confirms the decision made in August that found the benefits of Avastin did not justify the costs.
NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon defended the decision.
He said: “NICE has recommended expensive drug treatments before, but the independent committee that makes the final decision needs to be certain that the benefits offered justify the cost the NHS is being asked to pay.”
There have been two previous consultations on the use of Avastin, but no new evidence has been submitted that enabled the committee to change its mind.
Bowel Cancer UK criticised the latest decision.
The charity’s chief executive Mark Flannagan said: "We believe that all treatment options should be ruled in, regardless of cost, giving doctors and their patients the freedom to choose the treatments that are right for them."
Avastin is also known as bevacizumab and is used in conjunction with chemotherapy. The drug works by reducing the blood supply to a tumour and can make it shrink or stop growing.
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Title: NICE confirms no funding for Avastin
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 16664
Date Added: 12th Nov 2010