Cancer Research UK calls for reconsideration of Alimta lung cancer drug decision

Alimta lung cancer drug

17.11.2006

Cancer Research UK has contacted the health secretary to ask that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the UK drugs regulator, to re-think its decision not to make the lung cancer drug Alimta available on the NHS for the treatment of mesothelioma - a deadly cancer.

The head of Cancer Research UK, Professor Alex Markham said:

"It would seem that the cost of adopting Alimta for locally advanced lung cancer far outweighs the benefits to patients,"

"But Cancer Research UK remains adamant that the drug should be available for those with mesothelioma where it is the only treatment available and can significantly improve patients' quality of life."

Alimta is widely used throughout the world and has recently been approved for use in Scotland is the only recognised treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma
Cases of the disease are mostly linked to work-related asbestos exposure, and it is thought that the number of cases will fall from 2010 due to tighter restrictions on the use of asbestos.

"It would seem perverse to deny patients access to Alimta over this brief period," added Professor Markham.

"It is very unlikely that any effective alternative therapy for mesothelioma will become available before the epidemic declines."

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