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Skin cancer drugs to be available on NHS

2nd November 2012

The government’s drugs regulator has agreed two drugs that extend the lives of people with advanced skin cancer can now be offered on the NHS after the manufacturers cut their prices.

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had initially said ipilimumab and vemurafenib were too expensive.

But after the manufacturers agreed to drop their prices, the regulator is now recommending they be made available to patients in England and Wales.

The two drugs have been described as the biggest step forward in treatment of advanced melanoma for three decades.

Some patients given ipilimumab were still alive after four-and-a-half years of treatment while Vemurafenib - marketed as Zelboraf by Roche - works in the half of patients who have a particular gene mutation called BRAF V600, which can trigger advanced melanoma. It has been shown to increase survival on average from 9.6 to 13.2 months.

Dr Paul Lorigan, who is a senior lecturer in medical oncology at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, said the decision by NICE marked a “major milestone in the treatment of advanced melanoma.”

Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: “It represents a great stride forward in the treatment of advanced malignant melanoma, and is a brilliant example of what new-generation targeted cancer therapies can achieve.”

Cancer Research UK said the approval was “a good example of NICE and the pharmaceutical companies working together to ensure that effective cancer treatments get from research to the patients who need them.”

 

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Comments

MIKHAN KHAN

Friday 2nd November 2012 @ 18:58

THANKS NOT ONLY TO NICE BUT ALSO TO THE MANUFACTURERS OF THE DRUGS WHO MAGNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO CUT THE PRICE. THIS IS A BIG HELP TO THOSE SUFFERING FROM SKIN CANCER.


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