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Watchdog rules against drug for MDS


The health watchdog has ruled against the drug azacitidine being prescribed on the NHS to treat a number of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Azacitidine, the first drug developed specifically for treating MDS, costs around £45,000 per patient according to the manufacturer’s estimate. Final guidance on the drug after consultation on the draft ruling comes in May.

The drug could prolong sufferers’ lives by around nine months longer than standard treatment, said Dr Carole Longson, of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). But the appraisal committee decided that the price the NHS was asked to pay for azacitidine was still too high for it to be recommended as a cost effective use of NHS resources.

NICE’s draft guidance affects patients unsuitable for stem cell transplation, who have intermediate-2 and high risk MDS, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia.

“We are disappointed not to be able to recommend this drug,” said Dr Longson.

“The independent appraisal committee considered all published evidence on the effectiveness azacitidine and the cost, including the proposed ‘patient access scheme'”.

NICE said final guidance on the drug after a period of consultation on the draft ruling would be issued in May.

Copyright Press Association 2010

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

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