NICE confirms Velcade decision

In collaboration with the Press Association

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published final guidance recommending the use of the bone marrow cancer drug bortezomib (Velcade) in England and Wales.

The health watchdog has confirmed that patients who show a "full or partial response" to the drug will be able to continue the medication, funded by the NHS.

However, in the case of any patient who shows no or minimal response, the NHS will be able to recoup the costs of treatment from the manufacturer under an innovative funding scheme.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, described the decision as a "win-win situation for patients and the NHS".

He said: "Providing expensive new cancer drugs is a challenge for the NHS, particularly when it is not possible to identify those patients who will benefit most from treatment.

"The scheme proposed by the manufacturer and amended by NICE will ensure that patients at first relapse, who have had one prior therapy and who have had or are unsuitable for a bone marrow transplantation, will get the chance to see if the drug works well for them."