The UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence has rejected a drug designed to help prolong the lives of those suffering from asbestos related cancer, despite appeals to review a previous rejection. The manufacturer of the drug appealed against the previous rejection from NICE, but despite this the drug has been refused on the National Health Service.

The refusal of NICE to allow asbestos cancer sufferers in the UK to benefit from the life prolonging drug has outrages both victims and campaigners. The drug does not cure mesothelioma, which is asbestos related cancer, and only extends lifespan by a matter of months. However, according to campaigners and victims this is a few extra valuable months of life, and a chance to improve quality of life for as long as possible.

Officials from NICE, the agency that has turned down the drug for use on the NHS, state that the cost of treatment with Alimta, a drug manufactured by Eli Lilley, is simply too much and the benefits do not outweigh the costs. It is thought that around two hundred and thirty patients could have benefited from using the drug.

An official from NICE stated: “The independent appraisal committee was not persuaded that the evidence presented provided a robust demonstration of the clinical and cost effectiveness of pemetrexed compared with either docetaxel (Taxotere) or best supportive care, and therefore concluded that the drug is not an effective use of NHS resources.”

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