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NICE denies access to bowel cancer drug for NHS patients

Published on 25/08/2010
More people may be tempted to take out private medical cover in order to gain access to the latest medicines following the latest decision from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The body, which regulates treatments available on the NHS, has decided that a drug to treat advanced bowel cancer should not be made available to NHS patients.

That is because bevacizumab, commonly known as Avastin, is deemed too expensive compared to the potential benefits it could bring.

It is estimated that approximately 6,500 people per year might be eligible for the drug, which costs around £20,800 per patient.

Charity Bowel Cancer UK said it is "naturally disappointed" that NICE decided not too approve the drug when "there is so much evidence of the treatment's efficacy and it is so widely available to patients across the rest of Europe".

Rob Glynne Jones, chief medical adviser at Bowel Cancer UK, said that UK patients with advanced bowel cancer survive for an average of 19 months, compared to up to 27 months for patients in countries that use Avastin.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, with more than 38,600 people diagnosed with the disease every year.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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