Kidney cancer patients denied drugs on NHS

Patients with advanced kidney cancer may be forced to seek private treatment if they want certain drugs as they are unlikely to be available on the NHS.

The drugs Sutent (sunitinib), Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus) are not deemed to represent value for money by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

The institute conceded that the cancer treatments do have clinical value but claimed that they do not represent "a cost-effective use of NHS resources".

The decision has dismayed charities, which note that the one remaining treatment option, interferon, is of little benefit to the majority of patients with advanced kidney cancer.

Professor Peter Johnson, from the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "We are disappointed at Nice's view.

"Although we understand that Nice often has to make difficult decisions, in this case there is a clear separation between what Nice finds to be valuable treatment, and clinical and patient opinion."

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