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Green light for kidney cancer drugs in Wales

Published on 26/01/09 at 10:47am

Kidney cancer patients in Wales are to gain access to the four new drugs that are still denied on the NHS in England.

NICE is expected to soon reverse its rejection of medicines Sutent, Avastin, Nexavar, and Torisel, but Welsh health minister Edwina Hart has refused to make patients wait any longer.

Mrs Hart said NICE had kept expectations raised for too long, and in an effort to calm the anxiety of patients and their relatives during the interim period, has instructed Welsh health boards to fund the drugs, provided their prescription is backed by two oncologists.

She added: "I think it is unacceptable for these patients to be kept waiting any longer and I am instructing local health boards to provide these drugs for kidney cancer to appropriate patients with immediate effect."

NICE first rejected the drugs in August 2008, saying they were not sufficiently cost-effective. It is now reconsidering them using its new end of life QALY method and is set to announce its decision in March.



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