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Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether Herceptin will be available on the NHS in Gloucestershire in 2006. (80774)

There is no restriction on the national health service to prescribe drugs, within their licensed indications, while the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is developing guidance.

On 9 June, NICE published its draft guidance on Herceptin. These recommendations are subject to an appeal period which closed on 28 June 2006. The final guidance is expected to be issued at the beginning of July 2006, assuming there are no appeals.

Once finalised, the recommendations will mean that all eligible patients with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer should receive Herceptin on the NHS within three months of NICE issuing final guidance. Although the recommendations are subject to appeal, there are no national restrictions on the NHS using Herceptin.