14 October 2011
DYING SKIN CANCER PATIENTS DENIED POTENTIAL LIFE EXTENDING DRUG
Patient support group Factor 50 and leading UK skin cancer charity SKCIN are calling for NICE ‘National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’ to reconsider its preliminary decision to deny patients access to a potentially life extending drug.
The drug, Yervoy has proved beyond doubt in clinical trials, to prolong the lives of many sufferers with advance stage malignant melanoma. In some cases patients on Yervoy are alive 4 years later and beyond. During their appraisal consultation NICE has acknowledged that there is an ‘unmet need’ and that this drug fulfils that need however; it does not consider it to be a cost-effective use of NHS resources.
A joint statement has been released today by Factor 50 and SKCIN:
“The breakthrough that patients and clinicians throughout the UK have been waiting for has arrived in the form of this drug. Standard treatments that have been available since the 1970s are ineffective and to deny this drug to patients, many of whom are young and with very young families, has undoubtedly handed them down a death sentence. To have come so close to a breakthrough and to be told no at this stage is truly devastating. Patients waiting for this decision were all hoping and praying that it would be favourable. Understandably, they are completely shattered, but have vowed, in the time they have left, to try and counter the decision.”