The Bayer liver-cancer drug Nexavar (sorafenib) is too expensive for the NHS and will thus not be made available, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).
Draft guidelines says that because the treatment is not a cure and only extends life by an average six months it does not represent value for money.
Says chief executive Andrew Dillon: “We were disappointed not to have been able to recommend the use of sorafenib, but … it does not provide enough benefit to patients to justify its high cost.”
The decision has caused a predictable outcry among cancer charities, which point out that 3,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with liver cancer every year.
The drug is suitable for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which occurs when the cancer tumour originates in the liver rather than spreading there from elsewhere in the body.
Bayer, which offers a patient-access scheme whereby the company provides every fourth packet for free, says it will appeal the decision.
Copyright Press Association 2009