Nice says no to lung cancer treatment

The government's health watchdog has ruled that the once-a-day lung cancer pill Tarceva will not be made available on the NHS in England and Wales.

According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the cancer treatment is of limited use and would not be cost-effective.

As a result, sufferers of non-small-cell lung cancer - the most common type of the disease - will be forced to pay around £1,630 per month for private treatment if they wish to take the drug.

Manufacturer Roche has announced its intention to appeal against Nice's final decision, describing it as "perverse and flawed", Reuters news agency reports.

Clinical trials of the cancer treatment have revealed that it reduces the symptoms of non-small-cell lung cancer and also increases one-year survival rates by 41 per cent.

The drug was licensed in Britain in 2005 and has been recommended for use in Scotland since last year, meaning that English and Welsh patients are once again being denied a cancer treatment that is available north of the border.

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