In a setback to those suffering from liver cancer, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has turned down a plea to approve the use of Nexavar, the drug that has been proved to double the life expectancy of this particular category of patients.
Following the decision, campaigners and doctors have now demanded that the coalition Government should pump in £200million for the proposed cancer drugs fund for patients denied life-prolonging medicines.
Also, instead of April next, they want the fund to start working immediately, as otherwise the patients would have to pay privately, persuade local NHS bosses to pay up, or give up hope of getting the drug.
Kate Spall, founder of the Pamela Northcott Fund, said, “This is yet another example of how this bureaucratic monolith continues to directly affect patients' lives. Liver cancer patients will be left now without any treatment options other than palliative care”. The Fund assists cancer patients who are denied new therapies.
Costing £3,000 a month, Nexavar is shown to increase the average life of liver cancer patients by seven months, as compared to those not taking it. Besides, no alternative medicines exist for such patients even as a few of them may opt for surgery.
Notably, around 3,000 people are diagnosed with advanced liver cancer each year. And of them, about 600 are eligible to try the life-giving Nexavar.