The Institute of Cancer Research has voiced its disappointment at the recent NICE decision on olaparib for women with BRCA mutated ovarian cancer in further draft guidance.
The drug olaparib helps women with ovarian cancer who have a faulty BRCA gene, with studies showing it extends lives by an average of 11 months.
The treatment is the first cancer drug approved in this country that responds to inherited genetic mutations, but in June NICE said the £48,000 per year price tag of the drug, which could benefit 450 women a year, could not be justified.
Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London,
said: “We remain disappointed that women with ovarian cancer and mutations to their BRCA genes are still not being granted this world-first drug on the NHS. I'd urge NICE and the manufacturer to keep talking and do everything they can to make the drug available. It is at least positive that NICE is actively listening to evidence submitted through consultations, and seems to be looking for ways to make olaparib available. The latest announcement offers a glimmer of hope that some women with ovarian cancer will eventually get access to olaparib, which was underpinned by science conducted here at the ICR.
“But even if the latest ‘no’ from NICE is reversed for some women, olaparib would still only be available for women after several rounds of chemotherapy - meaning there will be many who miss out on its quality-of life-benefits earlier in the course of treatment, or do not access it at all."
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