A decision to withdraw three life-prolonging drugs used to treat patients with kidney cancer has been backed by Health Minister for Wales Edwina Hart.
The drugs, Avastin, Nexvar and Torisel were removed following a decision by NICE. It is a stark turnaround from an announcement made by Ms Hart in January, when she said all three drugs should be made available.
Only Sutent will continue to be used as a first-line treatment for kidney cancer after NICE said evidence in favour of the three axed drugs was too weak to justify NHS funding.
The announcement in January was meant as a temporary arrangement, intended to stand until the watchdog made up its mind.
Answering questions in the Senedd, Mrs Hart hit back at accusations from the Tories that she had been “chasing positive headlines”.
She said she took her decision after consulting health professionals. Patients who were already being treated with the drugs would continue to receive them.
During heated exchanges, she said: “I took my decision on the basis of the best interests of patients.
“I don’t play games with patients. I don’t do politics around the issue of drugs which I regard as far too serious.”
She added: “Nice guidance came out in favour of Sutent and I came out in favour of Sutent, and that is the factual position.”