Avastin will now be available for ovarian cancer sufferers in the UK with private medical cover, but will not be reviewed for use on the NHS until 2013.
We previously reported how NHS postcode lottery is limiting the availability of cancer drug Avastin on the Cancer Drugs Fund for brain and bowel cancer.
Now, Avastin (bevacizumab) has been licensed as a first-line treatment for women with advanced ovarian cancer after surgery, but is still not approved for use on the NHS.
Avastin is the first targeted drug to gain EU approval for ovarian cancer. Women with the disease were previously limited to treatment with chemotherapy and surgery.
European approval was based on a Phase III study. The study showed women who received the combination of Avastin and chemotherapy, then continued on Avastin alone, lived an average of 6 months longer without the disease getting worse.
Dr Timothy Perren, consultant medical oncologist at St James’s University Hospital, said: “I am delighted that Avastin has now been licensed and is therefore now potentially available to suitable women who are diagnosed with this devastating disease.”
“Ovarian cancer currently has the worst outcomes of all gynaecological cancers and halting disease progression for six months is an important step forward in treating this condition.”
Avastin, marketed by Roche, is already licensed to treat numerous other cancers including bowel cancer. However, at £21,000 per patient it is not readily approved by NICE.
NICE will approve Avastin for use with ovarian cancer later this year, and a final decision is scheduled for 2013. Until then, the drug will only be made available through the government’s £200m Cancer Drugs Fund or through private medical insurance.
Private medical insurance gives patients access to licensed cancer drugs even if they are not available on the NHS. With private medical cover, you could be treated with Avastin in a private hospital of your choice, with a specialist of your choice.
Don’t become a victim of the NHS postcode lottery- compare health insurance online now.
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