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Kidney cancer drug too expensive, says NICE

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Draft guidance has rejected the usage of an “expensive” drug treating advanced kidney cancer on the NHS.

Everolimus (Afnitor) was found to be “expensive”, while there is limited data on exactly how long it can extend people’s lives, NICE said. The drug’s manufacturer, Novartis, said it is not a cure for kidney cancer, but does give patients a longer and better quality of life.

Patients who failed on vascular endothelial growth factor-targeted therapy, a first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma, would be suitable for the drug. Compared to a dummy drug, Norvartis’ research suggests that everolimus more than doubles the time without tumour growth or death.

An eight-week cycle of the drugs costs £5,544, while 30 tablets cost £2,970.

NICE clinical and public health director Professor Peter Littlejohns said: “We are disappointed not to be able to recommend everolimus as a second-line treatment option for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.

“But NHS resources are limited and NICE has to decide which treatments represent best value to the patient as well as the NHS.”

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