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NICE rejects two drugs for bladder and lung cancer

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Bladder and lung cancer should not be treated on the NHS with two particular drugs, NICE has warned.

NICE have said Tarceva (erlotinib) should not be used as a maintenance treatment for people with non-small-cell lung cancer that is stable after chemotherapy

The group also did not recommend Javlor (vinflunine) for advanced bladder cancer. Both pieces of guidance are at the draft stage and subject to consultation.

The experts said the evidence for erlotinib was not robust enough to say it would extend lives by three months as suggested by the manufacturer. They also concluded there was not enough evidence on the benefits of vinflunine for bladder cancer.

A patient access scheme had been agreed to offer erlotinib to the NHS at £1,395 for a pack of 30 tablets.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said: “We have already recommended (another drug) pemetrexed as a maintenance treatment under certain circumstances and are disappointed not to have been able to recommend erlotinib. However, where pemetrexed was shown to offer a potential additional 5.2 months of life to patients, it is uncertain how much benefit erlotinib can offer as a maintenance treatment.”

Around 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year.

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