The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has refused to allow the NHS to use yet another new cancer drug. The decision has nothing to do with the effect or safety, just that treatment is seen as too expensive.
Nexavar extends life by less than three months on average, costing £27,000 a patient. NICE indicated last year it was unwilling to give the NHS the green light to fund the drug and this week it rejected an appeal by the manufacturer Bayer. Cancer charities argue that there are only about 400 who need this drug.
With the new government determined to cut or bring back under government control, as many of the 600 plus quangos as possible, and as the attitude of NICE and health insurers gets further apart, NICE’s high profile concern for cost over patients, greatly increases the likelihood of it being abolished or reformed.