Monday, August 11, 2014

UK Health Radio Medical News Update - New Cancer Drug Too Expensive.

UK Health Radio Medical News Update

New Cancer Drug Too Expensive.

A report from the BBC about another drug that us unlikely to be made available on the NHS has caused feelings of sadness and anger in equal measure.  The new breast cancer drug Kadcyla seems unlikely to be made available routinely on the NHS. The drug works by seeking out and destroying cancerous cells, attacking them from within. Its novel action means it is unlikely to cause the side effects, such as hair loss, seen with many other types of chemotherapy. For advanced cancer, the aim is remission rather than cure.
The decision was made by England's official NHS advisory body - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  They decided to reject Kadcyla and that has prompted manufacturers Roche to claim the system does not work.
NICE which is not normally known for its strong use of language - responded by saying it had been "really disappointed" by the approach that had been taken by the drugs firm.
While the latest guidance is at the moment only the final draft version, there generally do not tend to be any major changes when the official recommendations are eventually published - normally at an interval of a few months.
The original cost of Kadcyla worked out at £90,000 per patient - that is based on the standard 14 months of treatment.
Roche said that NICE had been the first organisation to say no to Kadcyla and that it had offered to substantially lower the price but that NICE had come back and said the new price - which is not being disclosed - made little difference.
Kadcyla is used to treat people with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be surgically removed. About a fifth of breast cancer cases are HER2-positive, and it is thought 1,500 women every year could benefit from taking Kadcyla.

Amanda Thomas

UK Health Radio Medical News Update

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