Jump to content

Its about Time!!!!!


Recommended Posts

Tens of thousands of patients are set to receive expensive drugs currently banned on the NHS, following secret talks between the government and manufacturers.

Pharmaceutical companies are poised to agree a groundbreaking series of deals to reduce the price of certain treatments in order to make them available across the country. People who have cancer, arthritis and Crohn's disease are likely to be among the first beneficiaries of a new agreement, which aims to end the controversy over sufferers being denied access to life-saving drugs.

The Department of Health and the drug industry have been holding negotiations for several months about the widespread adoption of creative pricing deals to overcome the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (Nice) refusal to approve new, clinically effective treatments it deems too costly.

The result will be pricing schemes that will make the drugs cheaper, and therefore affordable to the NHS. These include cost-sharing, where firms offer refunds for patients whose condition has not improved after using their product, and schemes in which they give small groups of sufferers a drug at a discounted rate in order to prove its effectiveness.

Doctors, charities and patient groups have condemned Nice for rejecting a series of drugs which experts believe relieve suffering or prolong life. While campaigns have forced some primary care trusts to rethink decisions to refuse certain costly medicines, this new approach will transform access.

Thousands of people with multiple myeloma, the incurable blood cancer, may now start getting Revlimid. Health officials and its makers, Celgene, have been discussing a cost-sharing deal under which the NHS would buy the drug at its full price but, in return, the company would refund payments where there was no improvement. Last October, Nice ruled that, although clinically effective, Revlimid was not cost effective and withheld approval.

Nice has recently shown its willingness to soften its stance if a drug firm embraces creative pricing. For example, it approved Lucentis, which helps people with age-related wet macular degeneration avoid going blind, after the drug firm Novartis agreed to cover the cost of any patient who, after receiving 14 separate injections, still needed more.

Each injection costs £761. Then, in a deal brokered by Department of Health officials, Nice approved the lung cancer drug Tarceva after its producer, Roche, agreed to drop the price to match that of the existing standard chemotherapy treatment.

Other drugs involved in the talks include Infliximab, which is used to treat the debilitating bowel complaint Crohn's disease; Velcade, for multiple myeloma; and both Orencia and Humira, which can reduce the pain of arthritis.

Rachel Rowson, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We welcome the move towards cost sharing on expensive drugs as it will allow more patients access to those desperately needed drugs."

Nice will this week perform a major U-turn in an attempt to end the row over its refusal to approve four kidney cancer drugs. Well-placed sources say some drugs will be made available when its committee meets on Wednesday as a result of discussions about pricing, new clinical trial data and health secretary Alan Johnson's demand for a much less rigid approach to letting patients with terminal conditions have access to end of life treatments.

The talks follow an agreement the Department of Health struck with the industry last November, which formalised and encouraged creative pricing. Health minister Ben Bradshaw told the Observer: "Patients rightly want and deserve access to effective and innovative treatments ... more patients will [now] benefit from a wider range of clinically and cost-effective drugs."


Home News Breaking news Print Friendly Email a Friend Feed Syndicate

Study could pave way for routine lung cancer screening in UK

Published: 08 January 2009 11:06 Author: Steve Ford More by this Author Last Updated: 08 January 2009 11:59 Reader Responses

Currently 33,500 people die each year in the UK from lung cancer, largely as a result of smoking

Increase image

View all images

The prospect of a national screening programme for lung cancer has moved a step closer with the commissioning of a new study by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

The six-month study will assess whether a full clinical trial and pilot schemes should take place on using high resolution computerised tomography of the lungs to detect early lesions suggestive of lung cancer.

Lead investigator Professor John Field, director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Research programme at the University of Liverpool, said: 'Screening to detect the disease before patients develop any symptoms is a method that urgently requires evaluation since surgical resection at an early stage of the disease remains at present the only realistic hope for cure for the great majority of patients.

'If the results of the feasibility study are promising it will be important to undertake a randomised control trial to assess if CT scanning is the best way forward. Only then would evidence be available to show whether a national lung cancer screening programme should be considered,' he added.

Author: Steve Ford. News editor

Nursing Times

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree, IT IS ABOUT TIME!!!! especially to see the UK possibly embarking on a national early detection program. I hope the early detection study leads to a national screening program sooner than later.

Both of these topics: reduction in Rx pricing and early detection program...it is about time!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.