Drugs watchdog to review Velcade

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has agreed to review the provision of the cancer drug Velcade.

Campaigners had questioned Nice's decision to remove NHS provision of Velcade last year and are optimistic that this latest review will ensure patients receive improved treatment.

Velcade is used to treat incurable bone marrow cancer myeloma but can cost around £18,000 for a course of treatment and it was felt that financial costs were the only reason Nice opted to withdraw the drug.

Eric Low, chief executive of Myeloma UK, welcomed the decision to conduct a review.

"We hope that further review of the evidence will mean that myeloma patients get access to what is unquestionably a clinically effective and important treatment. This is a complex issue that deserves due consideration," added Mr Low.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells which are found in bone marrow.

There are a wide range of symptoms of the cancer including bone pain, bone fractures, fatigue, anaemia and increased infections. Around 4,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with myeloma each year in the UK.

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