The cancer dug Avastin will not be made available to people with advanced bowel cancer in the UK, NICE has announced.
The drug, which costs nearly £21,000 per patient, helps those whose disease has spread to other organs. It typically adds six weeks to a patient’s life when combined with the capecitabine and oxaliplatin chemotherapy drugs.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) cited the huge cost of Avastin (bevacizumab), which has been shown to give patients an average of 21.3 months of life, compared with the 19.9 months with just chemotherapy treatment.
NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon said: “Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a very expensive drug so patients and NHS should expect substantial benefits from using it. The evidence we have suggests that patients receiving bevacizumab and chemotherapy for this indication may survive, on average, for six weeks longer than patients receiving chemotherapy and placebo.
“This means half of those patients who receive any benefit will receive less than six extra weeks of life.”
Manufacturer Roche initially proposed a patient access scheme under which the drug costs the NHS £20,800 per patient for one year and would be free after 12 months. The cost of oxaliplatin, a chemotherapy drug, would also be reimbursed.
A new proposal included all these elements, plus an additional upfront payment to the NHS for each person.