Government Accused of Stalling Life Saving Cancer Drugs

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which assesses the cost-effectiveness of new treatments has been accused of stalling the introduction of new cancer drugs in order to save money.

Prof Jonathan Waxman, of Imperial College London, who founded the Prostate Cancer Charity said, "In my view, Nice has over-regulated and proscribed drugs that offer real advances to people with cancer. In my particular area of specialisation, which is prostate cancer, we have had two new drugs become available over the last year and a half which offer real benefits for patients. I would argue that they have been disallowed – banned – by Nice on the basis of an assessment which is not a true financial costing of the worth of the drugs. We are going to have a situation in the UK where drugs are not available for our patients. It is a disaster. Someone just needs to sort this out."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The government has increased spending on health, which includes new drugs, and thousands more patients are getting access to the most advanced treatments. The government has not changed any assessment processes relating to cancer drugs. Furthermore, drug companies need to look hard at the high costs they are asking of the health service for their latest treatments."

Prostate Cancer Charity