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Appeal after NICE deems bone marrow drug too expensive


Sufferers of bone marrow disease could be denied a drug that prolongs life by an average of nine months, cancer campaigners have said.

A ruling will deny NHS patients the drug Vidaza, considered by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as too expensive for the benefits it offers.

Vidaza manufacturer, Celgene, is appealing against the decision on its drug, which costs £45,000 a year per patient.

MDS means that the bone marrow does not produce enough of one or more types of blood cells. Most patients need regular blood transfusions.

Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) only survive for 20 months on average, with almost a third developing the aggressive acute myeloid leukaemia.

Patients with MDS, which stops bone marrow producing enough blood cells, usually need frequent blood transfusions.

Vidaza (also known as azacitidine) helped higher-risk MDS patients survive 24.5 months, while those treated with conventional methods like chemotherapy survived for an average of 15 months.

Three cancer groups are opposing the NICE ruling - the Leukaemia Society, the MDS UK Patient Support Group and the Rarer Cancers Forum.

After releasing its draft guidance on the drug in early March, NICE will now consider their appeal.


Readers' comments (2)

  • The benefit to patients is clearly demonstrated and there should be some agreement for patients to be able to gain the benefit.

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  • Its all about money as usual and always,for NICE 4months extra seems nothing,to that person it is everything.

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