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Sunday 23rd October 2016

NICE reject Avastin for advanced breast cancer

18th April 2012

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has decided a drug for women with breast cancer that has spread should not be available on the NHS.


The decision comes despite evidence that Avastin can stall progression of the disease for three months.

NICE has issued draft guidance on Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, which says that the drug which costs more than £3,500 a month for each patient, should not be used as the first treatment for women with advanced breast cancer that has spread.

The organisation said that while the drug stops progression of the disease for an average of three months there was no evidence to suggest if this meant women actually lived longer if they were given it, or whether they would have a better quality of life than if they just had chemotherapy.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said: “We understand the need for effective treatments that can help patients live for as long as possible with a good quality of life. However, the evidence submitted to our independent appraisal committee did not conclusively show that bevacizumab could do either.

“The cost-effectiveness of the treatment was also an issue; we can’t recommend a drug that has not been shown to work as well as, or better than, current treatments and costs much more.

“We want to ensure people have access to the best treatments the NHS can afford; bevacizumab has so far not been proven to be clinically or cost-effective.”

The draft guidance is now open for consultation.


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