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Rejected drug described as "cruise missile" for cancer

Kadcyla, a drug that can offer some women with advanced breast cancer nearly six months of extra life, which was trialled here in the North East, has for now been rejected for use in the NHS, because of its high cost.

A Newcastle doctor whose patients have been involved in the clinical trials is disappointed by the decision.

Dr Mark Verrill, from the Freeman Hospital, say the drug is revolutionary.

Watchdog blocks cancer drug trialled in the North East

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

A new drug for breast cancer which extends women's lives by almost six months could be blocked from routine NHS access under draft guidance issued by a health watchdog.

Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, can cost more than £60,000 per patient and is not effective enough to justify the price, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE, said.

Patients will be able to apply to their local NHS and to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for the drug, a Nice spokeswoman said.

But the decision, if made final later this year, would mean the drug would not be recommended for routine use in England on the NHS and women would have to rely on their doctors' successful application to the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Sir Andrew Dillon, Nice chief executive, said he hoped Roche would "act in the best interest of patients" .

He said: "We apply as much flexibility as we can in approving new treatments, but the reality is that given its price and what it offers to patients, it will displace more health benefit which the NHS could achieve in other ways, than it will offer to patients with breast cancer."

Jayson Dallas, general manager, Roche Products Limited, said: "Roche is extremely disappointed that Nice has failed to safeguard the interests of patients with this advanced stage of aggressive disease."

Consultant says "Crazy" organ donor legislation means babies are dying.

A leading consultant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle says tiny babies are dying because current legislation governing heart donation is out of date.

Dr Richard Kirk was speaking after the publication of a report by researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital calling for the UK to be brought in line with Europe, American and Australia

At present strict rules prevent babies under two months becoming donors, but they don't forbid organs being imported from abroad. Dr Kirk says the current system has led to the deaths of five babies under his care in the past 18 months

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