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NICE responds to Daily Mail story on cancer drugs

The Chairman of NICE, Sir Michael Rawlins, today sent the following letter to Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Health; Andrew Lansley; Shadow Secretary of State for Health; Norman Lamb MP, Shadow Health Secretary; and Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail

Daily Mail: 9 April 2010

You may have read, in today's Daily Mail, a story about a Mrs Nikki Phelps who has multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1) and who has been denied treatment by her PCT with Sutent. I have no knowledge of Mrs Phelp's circumstances but Sutent, for this indication, has never been referred to us for appraisal and has no Marketing Authorisation for this indication.

The Daily Mail, in the same article, also states that that “NICE has delivered 15 rejections of cancer treatments in the past 18 months” and provides a list. This list is factually inaccurate. The situation, for the drugs mentioned, is as follows:

Yondelis: Recommended Feb 2010

Hycamtin (lung cancer): Recommended Nov 2009

Hycamtin (recurrent cervical cancer): Recommended Oct 2009

Sutent (gastrointestinal stromal tumours): Recommended Sept 2009

Alimta (non-small cell lung cancer): Recommended Sept 2009

Erbitux (colorectal cancer): Recommended Aug 2009

Avastin (advanced renal cell cancer): Rejected Aug 2009

Nexavar (advanced renal cell cancer): Rejected Aug 2009

Sutent (advanced renal cell cancer, second line): Rejected Aug 2009

Torisel (advanced renal cell cancer): Rejected Aug 2009

Mabthera (CLL): Recommended July 2009

Erbitux (head and neck cancer): Recommended June 2008

Revlimid (myeloma): Recommended June 2009

Sutent (advanced renal cell cancer, first line): Recommended Mar 2009

Tarceva: (non-small cell lung cancer): Not appraised (no guidance)

In summary, of the 15 products allegedly rejected by NICE:

  • 10 were recommended
  • 4 were rejected
  • 1 no appraisal has been published.

In the case of the one product where no appraisal has been published (Tarceva), the manufacturer withdrew their application because they had very significant additional information which wished to incorporate in their submission. This resubmission is currently under review by NICE.

I hope this clarifies the position but please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need further information.

Best wishes

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins FMedSci

Chairman

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

9 April 2010

For more information on NICE's cancer drug appraisals since 2008 read our fact sheet

This page was last updated: 13 April 2010

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.