Three campaigners who want access to Velcade® (bortezomib) for all patients with multiple myeloma in the UK have expressed disappointment at a ruling that the drug will only be given to patients at initial relapse.
The decision, by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), means that of the “Velcade Three” – Jacky Pickles, Janice Wrigglesworth and Marie Morton – only Ms Wrigglesworth will be entitled to the drug on the National Health Service.
The trio released a statement which said: “On what should have been a day of celebration after two years of campaigning for access to Velcade on the NHS, we are instead angry and disappointed that NICE has once again moved the goalposts.”
The women said that in a consultation document released in June, NICE indicated that Velcade would be available to all patients after first relapse, meaning no-one would die of myeloma without having access to this treatment.
The statement added: “But once again, they have changed their minds. Though this decision will help a lot of myeloma patients, there are some of us who are devastated because NICE gave us hope and have taken it away again.”
But a NICE spokeswoman said: “Our assessment is that this drug is most cost-effective at first relapse, because patients at first relapse experience greater health benefits for a given amount of Velcade treatment than those at second or subsequent relapse.”
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