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Avastin rejected for use on the NHS

  • 5 Comments

Avastin has been rejected for use in treating advanced breast cancer on the NHS.

The decision by NICE came just days before US regulators will decide its fate in America.

NICE said Avastin (bevacizumab) offered “limited and uncertain benefit” for patients and did not lead to any significant extension of life.

It appraised Avastin in combination with a type of chemotherapy for treating breast cancer that has spread around the body. The guidance is now subject to an appeal.

The ruling came as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States prepared to announce its decision, by 17 December, on the use of Avastin in breast cancer.

The FDA’s advisory panel in July voted in favour of revoking approval for the drug, declaring it did not offer a “clinically meaningful” benefit. European regulators are also reviewing the benefits of Avastin for breast cancer in light of fresh clinical data.

Avastin is licensed in the UK for bowel and kidney cancer but has not received approval from NICE for either of these diseases. It is also licensed for lung cancer.

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said: “We know that it’s immensely important for breast cancer patients whose disease has spread to prolong their lives as much as possible.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive any evidence from the manufacturer to show that bevacizumab can significantly lengthen a patient’s life or, importantly, offer a better quality of life than existing treatments. Although the data seemed to show that the drug may slow the growth and spread of the cancer, the size of this effect varied between studies.

“Furthermore, it was extremely unclear that the benefits in terms of slowing tumour growth translated into benefits on overall survival, which is what really matters for patients.”

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • Michael Sandiford

    I'd love to know what NICE class as "significant" when it comes to lengthen a patients life. It all boils down to cost with them, the needs of the patient are completely secondary.

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  • The thing is that when one extra month of life costs around 30K, and that month may be of very poor quality, its only fair as a society that we consider whether that money could be better spent elsewehere. We live in a society that clings to life rather selfishly, with no thought for the rest of the planet.

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  • Michael Sandiford

    Hahahahaha! I will remember your comment and pass it on to the next patient I meet who is denied treatment due to cost. Am sure it will be a great comfort to them.
    Surely the treatment should be available for those who do want to have that extra time? Is it right they are told they can't because it will cost to much?

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  • The money to pay for drugs such as this has to come from somewhere. Would you be willing to lose your job to fund that patient's extra month of life?

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  • Michael Sandiford

    Sadly I don't earn 30k a year never mind a month.

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