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Health chief 'disappointed' with cancer drug company

The chief executive of health watchdog Nice told ITV News he is "disappointed" that drug manufacturer Roche has not offered the NHS a discount on a breast cancer drug that costs around £90,000 per patient.

Kadcyla, which extends women's lives by almost six months, could be blocked from routine NHS access because it is too expensive.

"Companies can discount their prices and they frequently do. Given the list price. I would have expected the company to have at least considered (a discount)," Andrew Dillon said.


Expert: NICE faced 'difficult decision' over cancer drug

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) faced "difficult decisions" when it deemed a breast cancer drug which can extend sufferers lives by "up to six months" was too expensive, according to a health expert.

Dr Hilary Jones told Daybreak the £90,000 price tag per patient would have meant taking funds away from other vital services the NHS provides.

Cancer drug manufacturer urged to cut price

A consultant analyses a mammogram. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The chief executive of health watchdog Nice has urged a drug manufacturer to look at cutting the cost of Kadcyla - a cancer treatment deemed 'too expensive' for routine NHS use.

Sir Andrew Dillon said he hoped Roche would "act in the best interest of patients" and use the consultation period to look again at their evidence and consider if there was "more" they could do to reduce the price of the treatment.

Jayson Dallas, general manager of the company, responded to Nice's announcement, saying: "Roche is extremely disappointed that Nice has failed to safeguard the interests of patients with this advanced stage of aggressive disease."

He added that he hoped the watchdog would "arrive at a sustainable solution that builds upon the success" of the Cancer Drugs Fund, so that "patients continue to have rapid access to much needed cancer medicines".

'Unaffordable' breast cancer drug set to be blocked

A new breast cancer drug which extends women's lives by almost six months could be blocked from routine NHS access because it is too expensive, a health watchdog says.

Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, can cost more than £90,000 per patient and is not effective enough to justify the price the NHS is being asked to pay, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

The watchdog, which decides which new medicines are cost effective, said its guidance for the drug, also known as trastuzumab emtansine, was in draft form and is now up for public consultation.

If the recommendations are adopted, patients would have to apply to their local NHS and to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for the drug, a Nice spokeswoman said.

Doctors and nurses 'must redouble hygiene efforts'

While steps have been taken to reduce infection rates of hospital bugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, other infection rates are still too high, the Nice said.

A spokeswoman said doctors and nurses must "redouble" hygiene efforts to bring the rates down.

It is unacceptable that infection rates are still so high within the NHS. Infections are a costly and avoidable burden. They hinder a patient's recovery, can make underlying conditions worse, and reduce quality of life.

Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.

– Professor Gillian Leng


1 in 16 NHS patients pick up infections

One in 16 people receiving NHS care are picking up infections, health officials have warned.

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (Nice) says he level of infections are "unacceptably high" and are a "very real threat" to patients.

Every year around 300,000 people get an infection while being cared for by the health service in England. Credit: Press Association

Every year around 300,000 people get an infection while being cared for by the health service in England.The most common type of infections include pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.

These infections can occur in otherwise healthy people, especially if invasive procedures or devices like catheters or vascular access devices, are used, Nice said.

Number of steroid users is 'rapidly increasing'

The number of people who are injecting themselves with steroids or other image enhancing drugs is "rapidly increasing", health experts have warned.

Nice has warned of the increasing amount of people using steroids. Credit: SportsChrome/Press Association Images

More must be done to help the rising tide of people, including teenagers, who use these drugs, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

Outreach programmes should be set up in gyms to try to reach this group of drug users, Nice said. They also warned that people who use steroids do not seem themselves as having a drug problem.

The health authority also said that needle and syringe programmes - which were set up in the 1980s and 1990s to stem the spread of HIV - should also make sure that these drug users have the sterile equipment they need to prevent the spread of blood-borne viruses.

Meanwhile, local health bodies need to increase the proportion of these drug users who are tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other viruses.

Drug funding changes are 'a stealth cut for cancer'

Thousands of cancer patients could be denied access to life-extending drugs under new plans for approving medicines on the NHS, campaigners have said.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is changing its criteria on how funding should be allocated.

Appraisal committees will now be asked to adopt a more "favourable approach" when considering treatments for people whose conditions represent a high burden of illness and where there is a wider impact on society.

Drug funding changes. Credit: Jens BÃŒttner/DPA/Press Association Images

The Rarer Cancers Foundation said a move to abolish the criteria covering end-of-life drugs means there is no guarantee key treatments would be approved in the future.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the foundation, said:

"Plans to abolish special rules for drugs used near the end of a patient's life have been slipped out in the small print of this consultation.

"They amount to a stealth cut for cancer."

This comes just a month after NICE said it would reject government proposals to take benefits to society into account.

Last month NICE said the proposals would leave the elderly at risk.

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