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Avastin rejected for NHS use

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has announced it is unable to recommend the use of Avastin for the treatment of breast and lung cancers on the NHS
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced it is unable to recommend the use of Avastin for the treatment of breast and lung cancers on the NHS.

Refusal to recommend the first-line cancer treatment is due to a failure by Roche to provide NICE with details of the drug's clinical and cost effectiveness.

Andrew Dillon, NICE CEO said: "We will issue advice to the NHS which will say that 'NICE is unable to recommend the use of the technology'. The advice will explain why we have come to the conclusion to terminate the appraisal and will offer advice to the NHS on what to do next."

Speaking to the Financial Times, Greg Page, a spokesman for Roche, confirmed that the company did not provide the required data as its own calculations showed Avastin would be too expensive to meet NICE's criteria.

Avastin was approved by the EMEA in March 2007, for treatment of metastatic breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy. In August 2007, the EMEA approved its use in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, as a treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

This decision comes just days after Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced as many patients as possible should be given the opportunity to participate in medical trials, and only a week or so after he agreed to review the rules that currently prevent patients from 'topping-up' their own treatments with drugs not available on the NHS.

The lack of patients receiving 'gold standard' treatments means that pharmaceutical companies are less willing to invest in clinical trials in the UK.

26th June 2008

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