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Published on 8 August 2008

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Cancer drugs axe figures revealed

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has released details of the calculations it used to arrive at the decision to deny patients with advanced kidney cancer access to four drugs.

Avastin (bevacizumab), made by Roche, costs around £23,000 per patient per year. Over a six-week cycle, the average total cost of the drug is GBP 5,982 per patient for the first cycle and GBP 6,117 for subsequent cycles.

Meanwhile, Nexavar (sorafenib), made by Bayer, costs GBP 89.45 per day, with an average six-week cycle costing GBP 3,757, or around GBP 32,000 per patient per year.

The NICE guidance shows that Pfizer’s Sutent (sunitinib) costs GBP 3,139, or around GBP 32,000 per patient per year. However, Pfizer’s own calculations suggest that patients only need 7.7 cycles a year, costing the lower amount of GBP 24,168 per patient per year.

Torisel (temsirolimus), from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, had no price listed in the British National Formulary.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, clinical and public health director at NICE, said the evidence showed that, although the treatments are clinically effective, they are not a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

“If these treatments were provided on the NHS other patients would lose out on treatments that are both clinically and cost effective,” he added.

Copyright PA Business 2008

NICE

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“These drugs do not have the efficacy of intravenous Vitaman C and should therefore be dropped!” – Alan Smith-Johnson, Europe

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