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Healthcare

UK body rejects Novartis drug Glivec after surgery

* NICE not recommending Glivec for use after GIST surgery

* Lack of evidence about effectiveness in this setting

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Glivec, from Novartis NOVN.VX, should not be used in patients who have had a gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) removed by surgery, Britain's health cost watchdog said in draft guidance on Friday.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which decides whether drugs should be paid for on the state-funded National Health Service, said there was a lack of evidence about the drug’s effectiveness in this setting.

More evidence about Glivec after GIST surgery is expected to be available in 2011, when NICE aims to review its opinion.

Glivec is already recommended for use in patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia and for those with GIST who are unsuited for surgery.

“At about 19,500 pounds ($29,200) per patient per year, this is a relatively expensive drug and we need to be sure about how well it works and what its side-effects are before we can recommend it as cost-effective,” said NICE Chief Executive Andrew Dillon said. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6677 Pound)

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