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Multiple Myeloma

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what treatments are currently licensed for multiple myeloma in the UK; what treatments for multiple myeloma are currently provided by the NHS; whether thalidomide is licensed for the treatment of multiple myeloma; and if she will make a statement. (96641)

Treatments licensed for the treatment of multiple myeloma are listed in the British National Formulary, which can be found at www.bnf.org.

It will be for clinicians, in discussion with patients, to determine treatments for a patient's condition. Treatments that have been positively appraised by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) must be funded by primary care trusts within three months of publication of guidance, if the patient concerned is eligible.

Where NICE guidance is not available, PCTs should continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies. These arrangements should involve an assessment of all the available evidence. Funding for such treatments should not be withheld simply because of an absence of guidance from NICE.

Thalidomide for the treatment of multiple myeloma is not licensed. Thalidomide can be given to particular patients if their clinician thinks they might benefit; this is called a named patient basis, and the PCT concerned agrees to fund it. Thalidomide may also be given to people taking part in research trials.