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NICE rejects kidney cancer drug

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NICE has rejected a drug for patients with advanced kidney cancer.

The watchdog confirmed that it turned down everolimus (Afinitor), because it does not provide enough benefit to patients to justify its cost, despite the manufacturer, Novartis, proposing a scheme to share the financial burden of supplying the drug on the NHS.

Research suggests everolimus extends life by an average of three months compared to current best standard of care. It costs £99 per day per patient and data from clinical trials suggests that patients typically take the drug for 4.9 months.

Novartis said it plans to appeal against the latest decision.

Mike Hobday, head of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the news was “frustrating”, especially as advanced kidney cancer patients had already been denied four treatments - Avastin, Nexavar, Sutent for second line treatment, and Torisel.

He added: “Everyone should get the clinically effective drugs their doctor recommends, regardless of what type of cancer they have.”

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said the appraisal committee had looked at a new deal from the manufacturer to give patients access to the drug as well as further cost analysis.

“However, the committee felt that there was still too much uncertainty around how cost effective everolimus is to enable the committee to recommend the drug,” he said.

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