NICE Rejects Bowel Cancer Medicine, Says Drug too Expensive

Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on Tuesday announced that Avastin, a drug to help bowel cancer patients marketed by Roche Holding AG, should not be prescribed to patients on the Government run National Health Services as it is "too expensive". As per the organization's decision, the treatment of advanced bowel cancer with Avastin, in combination with oxaliplatin, which is a form of chemotherapy drug, is not to be paid for by the NHS as it isn't cost effective.

NICE has rejected the drug despite the fact that its Basel, Switzerland-based maker has offered it to the NHS at a subsidized price, and after a detailed discussion with UK's Department of Health.

According to the agency, the access scheme for patients which is currently being proposed by Roche is complex and does not seem to reflect the regular clinical practice. Also, NICE has shared concerns that the administration costs of the scheme have very good chances of being higher than the drug-maker has indicated.

The pharmaceutical company, on the other hand, has said that it is completely willing to address NICE's concerns. "Roche is confident that it can continue to work together with NICE to ensure Avastin will be available for the benefit of bowel cancer patients", the company said.

NICE had previously rejected Avastin as a treatment drug for kidney cancer as well.