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Glaxo cancer drug rebuffed again by UK cost agency

* NICE says Tyverb not cost-effective

* Glaxo says 2,000 women a year will be denied treatment

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline's GSK.L breast cancer drug Tyverb has been rejected once again by Britain's cost watchdog NICE.

The National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence (NICE), which assesses drugs for reimbursement, said on Wednesday the drug’s limited benefit and high price meant it was not suitable for use on the state health service.

The agency’s draft guidance follows preliminary rebuffs for the Glaxo product last year -- but the British-based drugmaker had hoped to win over sceptics at the agency and said it was disappointed by the latest decision.

Glaxo said the NICE move would result in up to 2,000 British women a year being denied access to the drug on the National Health Service (NHS).

Glaxo had offered a “patient access programme”, giving NHS patients free access to Tyverb for the first three months of treatment, but this failed to sway NICE.

Although Britain is only a minor market for Glaxo, the rebuff from the cost-effectiveness agency in its home market is a blow, since Glaxo aims to make Tyverb -- also known as Tykerb or lapatinib -- a key part of its expanding business in cancer.

Decisions from NICE, which has a track record of rejecting a number of other pricey new medicines, are closely followed by governments and healthcare insurers worldwide.

Tyverb is the first once-daily pill for breast cancer patients who over-express a protein called HER2. It is used in combination with Roche's ROG.VX drug Xeloda. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Kate Kelland)

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