Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Bowel Cancer drug review unpopular

The BBC has reported that several charities have criticised a decision not to make two anti-cancer drugs available on the NHS.

Bevacizumab (Avastin®) and Cetuximab (Erbitux®) have been appraised by NICE for use in metastatic colorectal cancer. NICE has recently made a final appraisal determination (FAD) available and while the process consultees can lodge an appeal is unlikely to change before publication.

The FAD recommends that these drugs are not used as they are not cost-effective. NICE has based their decision upon the cost to the NHS to improve the quality of life of a patient with metastatic colorectal cancer. NICE currently use a benchmark of £30,000 per Quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Neither of these drugs meets that benchmark and in some prediction models are the cost per QALY was more than 3 times the NICE benchmark.

Action: Clinicians may wish to be aware of this information as patients may ask questions following media coverage.

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