Skip to main content

Cancer: Drugs

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been carried out by his Department of the effectiveness of Sutent in treating cancer; and if he will make a statement. (133106)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has responsibility for assessment of the cost and clinical effectiveness of new cancer drugs such as Sutent. In July 2006, the Department established a formal link with NICE (on behalf of the HPSS) under which NICE guidance is reviewed for its applicability to Northern Ireland and, where deemed to be applicable, is endorsed by the Department for implementation in the HPSS. Sutent has not yet been referred to NICE for assessment.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has however assessed this drug and has not recommended its use in the NHS in Scotland. In the absence of an assessment by MCE, local commissioners will be informed by the SMC’s guidance when assessing priorities for the use of specialist drugs moneys in Northern Ireland. In this context, therefore, the Department would not expect Sutent to be widely available for patients in Northern Ireland until further evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the drug is available.