Skip to main content

NHS: Drugs

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he expects the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to issue guidance on the availability on the NHS of (a) Sutent, (b) Nexavar, (c) Avastin and (d) Torisel; (252278)

(2) if he will issue guidance to primary care trusts to the effect that they should make (a) Sutent, (b) Nexavar, (c) Avastin and (d) Torisel available on the NHS where clinicians advise they should be used.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising sunitinib (Sutent), sorafenib (Nexavar), temsirolimus (Torisel) and bevacizumab (Avastin) for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. We understand that NICE anticipates publishing its final guidance later this year.

NICE is an independent body responsible for the development of robust, evidence-based guidance for the national health service on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new and existing technologies. The Department has no plans to publish separate guidance to the NHS on these treatments in advance of NICE publishing its final guidance.

The NHS Constitution, which was published on 21 January 2009, includes a right for patients to access drugs and treatments that have been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS and also a further right for patients to expect local decisions on the funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence.