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NHS liver cancer patients denied life-extending drug

Published on 26/05/2010
The decision not to provide a drug that potentially prolongs the lives of liver cancer sufferers on the NHS has caused outrage among campaigners.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which decides what medicines, equipment and procedures the public health service supplies to patients, has ruled against procuring the drug Nexavar.

Although the drug can extend the lives of patients by three months on average, Nice has decided that, at £27,000 per patient, the expense is too great compared to the benefits it can bring.

Kate Spall, founder of the Pamela Northcott Fund, which assists cancer patients denied new therapies, said: "This is yet another example of how this bureaucratic monolith continues to directly affect patients' lives."

Campaigners are now asking for immediate access to the government's proposed cancer drugs fund, which has been set up so patients can obtain treatments which their doctors think could benefit them but which are not widely available.

"Whilst the policy pledge is due in April 2011, we are asking the government to bring this date forward for the 400 liver cancer patients who will benefit from Nexavar," said Ms Spall.

Cancer originating in the liver (primary liver cancer) is fairly rare in the UK with fewer than 1,000 new cases each year.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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