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Kidney cancer drugs look set to be rejected by NICE

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NICE looks set to reject NHS access to drug treatments for metastatic renal cell carcinoma in England and Wales.

The institute has published a final appraisal determination that advises against using four drugs for advanced kidney cancer – bevacizumab, sorafenib, sunitinib and temsirolimus.

It ruled that, while clinically effective, none of the drugs was cost-effective. The cost of treatment with bevacizumab is £151.42 per day, sorafenib costs £89.45 per day and sunitinib costs £74.74 per day. The price of temsirolimus is not yet available but is estimated by be around £88.29 per day.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: ‘We are disappointed at NICE’s view that although these drugs are clinically effective, their high price means that they are not considered to be value for money for the NHS.

‘These drugs have shown a small but definite improvement in an illness where there are few alternative treatments,’ he said. ‘If this decision stands it will be very frustrating for cancer patients and their clinicians.’

A final ruling on the drugs is due to be published in January 2009. The Scottish Medicines Consortium has already ruled against recommending sorafenib or sunitinib for renal cell carcinoma.

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