NICE rejection leaves asbestos patients with no active treatment, says Cancerbackup

Reacting to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) new interim guidance following the original negative decision upheld at appeal on Pemetrexed (Alimta) for the treatment of patients with mesothelioma, the condition caused by exposure to asbestos, charity Cancerbackup issues the following statement:

"Again it would seem that NICE is rejecting this drug largely on cost grounds", says Joanne Rule, chief executive of Cancerbackup. "But this treatment is for a disease which people have contracted mostly due to their working environment. It is not fair to deny active treatment to these patients. Although the drug is not curative it does offer extra months for a particularly vulnerable group of people with cancer. As this is the interim guidance until the final decision is issued by NICE, primary care trusts can and should make this treatment available to NHS patients under the Health Service Circular 1999/176."

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