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Roche Cuts Price of Lung Cancer Drug Tarceva

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Source:Healthcare Exec Date:03/10/2007 11:38:48

Roche, the pharmaceutical giant, is to lower the price of the drug for a limited time while it is re-appraised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

The company says it is making the move to make sure patients are not denied the drug by Primary Care Trusts that are awaiting final NICE guidance.

This decision has been made to prevent the phenomenon known as "NICE blight", where Health Authorities back decisions on funding of a product on the NICE work programme pending a decision by NICE, which is often issued months or even years after grant of a licence.

By lowering the price to the same as its competitors, Roche hopes this process can be sidestepped.

"We do not want to sit back and watch while blocks prevent patients gaining access to Tarceva, while NICE is re-evaluating its clinical and cost effectiveness," said John Melville, Roche General Manager in the UK.

"We are confident that Tarceva is clinically and cost-effective. Yet, by matching the price of current second-line lung cancer chemotherapy, we have taken the issue of cost off the table, while NICE continues its deliberations."

Professor Nick Thatcher, Professor of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital Manchester commented: "I have had patients whose lives have been transformed by this treatment, who have seen an improvement in their prognosis and a reduction in some of the devastating symptoms that come with the disease.

“I welcome Roche's interim measure and the chance to be given the same freedom as clinicians in Scotland, to prescribe this drug to patients whom I consider eligible for treatment."

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