A piece in yesterday’s Telegraph:
Patients left with ‘no real alternative’ after decision by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to reject treatment
Thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer look set to be denied life-extending treatment following a decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
Charities criticised the interim decision, which comes months after the body rejected another treatment for men with advanced disease.
More than 4,000 men a year could benefit from such treatments, with one study suggesting they could reduce the risk of death by one third over three years.
Prostate Cancer UK said the rejection of the hormonal drug apalutamide could leave thousands of men without access to a life-extending treatment each year.
Such treatments are particularly important for men who cannot receive the standard treatment of docetaxel chemotherapy, the charity said.
Angela Culhane, the Prostate Cancer UK chief executive, said: “For the second time in six months, Nice has rejected a treatment which could have given thousands of men more valuable time with their families.
“This is particularly concerning for men who can’t have chemotherapy, who face being left with no real alternative. It is now vital that Nice and the pharmaceutical companies involved act urgently to make sure these men have access to an effective treatment.”
Nice said the evidence about the effectiveness of the drug was uncertain and did not find it to be cost effective.
A spokesman said: “Nice understands that today’s announcement will be disappointing for some people with prostate cancer. However, this is not Nice’s final guidance on apalutamide and the recommendations may change after public consultation.
“After consultation, the independent appraisal committee will meet again to consider the evidence, this appraisal consultation document and comments from the consultees, including the company and patient groups, as well as from people who are not consultees.
“We would therefore urge anyone with an interest in this appraisal to submit their comments ahead of the 11 June deadline.”
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