April 22, 2014 / 11:02 PM / 4 years ago

New Roche breast cancer drug unaffordable, says UK body

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - A new breast cancer drug from Roche that costs tens of thousands of pounds more than other treatments is unaffordable for Britain’s state-run health service, the country’s healthcare cost watchdog said on Wednesday.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said Kadcyla was not effective enough to justify the price tag, which can is expected to reach 90,831 pounds ($152,800) per patient for a course of treatment.

The rebuff from the body responsible for deciding if drugs should be used on the National Health Service (NHS) formed part of a growing debate about the high price of modern medicines, especially those for treating cancer.

NICE has been assessing Kadcyla as a treatment for women with so-called HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, cannot be surgically removed and has stopped responding to initial treatment.

“We had hoped that Roche would have recognised the challenge the NHS faces in managing the adoption of expensive new treatments by reducing the cost of Kadcyla to the NHS,” NICE Chief Executive Andrew Dillon said in a statement.

“We apply as much flexibility as we can in approving new treatments, but the reality is that given its price and what it offers to patients, it will displace more health benefit which the NHS could achieve in other ways, than it will offer to patients with breast cancer.”

NICE’s draft guidance recommending against Kadcyla’s routine use is now open for consultation and Dillon said he hoped Roche would look again at the price. ($1 = 0.5944 British Pounds) (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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