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Roche prescribing data to support NICE uptake

Published on 27/05/04 at 11:12am

Roche is to provide NICE with regular updates on patient access to its treatments to help increase the uptake of the Institute's guidance across England and Wales.

The move coincides with renewed efforts from the national authority to communicate its mandatory guidance to Strategic Health Authorities, PCTs, cancer networks, NHS trusts and healthcare professionals through a new implementation resource on its website.

Roche has established itself as the most proactive in the UK at highlighting regional disparities in patient access to NICE-approved drugs. Last November, research by the company into prescribing of its breast cancer drug Herceptin found huge differences from region to region, with just 14% of women eligible for treatment receiving the drug in the worst-hit region, the Midlands.

Then, in April this year, the company released a second survey showing that most patients with colon cancer were not being offered a choice of treatments, which include its targeted cancer therapy Xeloda, despite NICE guidance instructing doctors to involve patients in the decision.

Roche's efforts were the latest of many investigations into the persistence of postcode prescribing, and has prompted an ongoing investigation into cancer spending by NHS cancer czar Mike Richards.

The company will also supply data on regional patient access to pegylated interferons for the treatment of Hepatitis C, including its Pegasys which it says varies from 1% to 16% of eligible patients, its cancer treatment MabThera, obesity drug Xenical and clot-buster product Rapilysin.

"In order to provide the best quality healthcare possible in the UK, we must strive for equal access for every patient to approved drugs - it makes clear sense for the pharmaceutical industry to work in conjunction with cancer service providers, patient groups and the NHS to provide support in areas where patients are not receiving optimal care," said Dr Alison Jones, consultant oncologist, Royal Free Hospital.

Audit data from Roche will be updated every quarter, with the latest update showing differences in access across regions. Roche is also developing a toolkit for NHS staff who are responsible for implementing NICE guidance on cancer drugs, anticipated to be ready this summer.

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Patients still being denied access to colon cancer treatments 

Wednesday, April 28, 2004




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