Thursday, 19 November 2009

Liver cancer drug 'too expensive'

A drug that can prolong the lives of patients with advanced liver cancer has been rejected for use in the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the cost of Nexavar - about £3,000 a month - was "simply too high".

But Macmillan Cancer Support said the decision was "a scandal".

More than 3,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer every year in the UK and their prognosis is generally poor.

Only about 20% of patients are alive one year after diagnosis, dropping to just 5% after five years.


Campaigner Kate Spall, who won the right to have two months of treatment for her mother, Pamela Northcott, in 2007, said it had prolonged her life by four-and-a-half "precious" months.

It had allowed her 58-year-old mother, from Dyserth in Denbighshire, "closure" and "peace", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The problem in Mum's case is it took a year for me to fight for the treatment, so we'll never know how well she could have done," she said.

"We had extra time, which was very precious to us all, her symptoms were helped greatly. And, more importantly, for Mum it was a case of getting some closure and peace.

"The psychological feeling when a group of people decide that you cannot have a treatment that can help you is really devastating."

1 comment:

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