August 8, 2008

NHS Rejects Cancer Drugs Due to Costs

Britain's National Health Service said it rejected four new drugs designed to treat advanced kidney cancer because the cost is too high.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said the drugs -- Sutent (sunitinib), Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus) -- are too expensive and the money can be better put to other use, the Times of London said Thursday.

The newspaper said cancer organizations are outraged by the decision. Advocates for the rejected drugs say they can help prolong patient's lives by as much as six months.

"These drugs have shown a small but definite improvement in an illness where there are few alternative treatments. This decision once again raises questions about whether NICE's system of appraisal is appropriate for all types of drugs," said Peter Johnson, chief clinician with Cancer Research UK.