Monday, 25 August 2008

Cancer victims 'forced into debt' to pay for medicines freely available elsewhere in Europe

The NHS drugs rationing body is forcing cancer patients to remortgage their homes to pay for medicines freely available elsewhere in Europe, senior doctors warned yesterday.

More than 20 leading cancer consultants said they were 'dismayed' at guidance issued by Nice - the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - to refuse four kidney cancer drugs on the NHS.

Accusing Nice of rationing too severely, they called for a radical change in the way the NHS makes decisions.

Among the 26 signatories is Professor Karol Sikora, one of Britain's leading cancer experts and former chief of the World Health Organisation Cancer Programme.

The outcry follows draft guidelines from Nice this month on the drugs sunitinib, bevacizumab, sorafenib and temsirolimus.

The body concluded that the therapies - which can extend a patient's life by months - were not good value.

Cancer doctors warned that around 3,600 patients would die more quickly.
Now, in a letter to the Sunday Times, some of the UK's most eminent doctors have added to the criticism.

'Once again Nice has shown how poorly it assesses new cancer treatments,' they said.

complete article here