The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have today (Thursday 18 August 2016) announced that they have decided to discontinue the use of breast cancer drug Afinitor (everolimus) for patients in England.
Afinitor is the first of the breast cancer drugs to be reappraised from the old Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). The drug, which has been available in England via the CDF since 2013, will now not be available to any new patients in England from February 2017, despite it being routinely available in both Scotland and Wales.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“This is a huge blow to many breast cancer patients and we fear this decision could be just a taste of what’s to come for innovative breast cancer drugs in England.
“The decision means that, for the first time, an effective breast cancer drug will be available in Wales and Scotland but not in England.
“Our worst fears about the re-launched CDF are being realised. Without further reform to NICE’s appraisal process, we are deeply concerned that Afinitor will be the first of many breast cancer drugs to which patients in England will be cruelly denied access.
“For patients that tolerate it well, this drug is a serious option offering precious extra months without their disease progressing. We mustn’t forget that this is a patient group that cannot take exciting new breast cancer treatments such as Kadcyla and Perjeta, who have become resistant to hormone therapy and who desperately need new options to be made available.
“This is not a particularly expensive cancer drug and we believe it should be within reach of NICE’s cost-effectiveness threshold. We now call on both NICE and Novartis to put patients first and find an agreement that ensures England doesn’t fall behind the rest of Great Britain in access to Afinitor.”
There will now be another short consultation period before the NICE Committee meets again, and final guidance on the drug will be published in December 2016.